Brazil security forces make record drug seizure

By Dialogo
June 11, 2013

Brazilian security forces have made a record drug seizure and disrupted the production of 30 tons of cocaine in neighboring Peru during a massive 19-day border operation, authorities said on June 7.

The army and police operation netted 25 tons of marijuana and 657 kilograms of cocaine and crack, the Defense Ministry announced, saying the seizure represents a “historic record.”

Coordinated with Peru and Colombia along the 11,000 kilometer frontier, the operation disrupted smuggling and forced traffickers to abandon production of some 30 tons of cocaine destined for southern Brazil, the United States and Europe, the ministry said in a statement.

The Amazon region’s military commander, Eduardo Villas Boas, said that along the border with Peru, coca planting occupied an area of 30,000 hectares and produced three harvests a year.

“With this operation, the traffickers lost the harvest and stopped refining a third of the 100 tons they produce annually,” said Sergio Lucio Fontes, an Amazon federal police official.

Some 33,000 soldiers took part in the operation, along with 1,100 government officials. Weapons, explosives and illegally logged timber were also seized.

The operation is part of a strategic border security plan announced by President Dilma Rousseff in June 2011.

Behind the United States, Brazil is the world’s second biggest consumer of cocaine and crack, a cocaine derivative with devastating effects.

One percent of this South American powerhouse’s 194 million people use cocaine or crack, according to official statistics.

Federal police say 90 percent of the drug enters the country through Bolivia and Peru, with the other 10 percent coming through Colombia. Paraguay, meanwhile, supplies 80 percent of marijuana demand.

Brazil shares 16,000 kilometers of borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela and French Guiana.