Brazilian Army Destroys 41 Clandestine Ports Criminals Used on Itaipu Lake
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo April 19, 2021
Between February 15 and March 5, Brazilian military and police forces destroyed 41 clandestine ports used by criminal organizations on Itaipu Lake, in the state of Paraná.
The actions took place during Operation Importunus 2, and were carried out by soldiers of the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) 15th Motorized Infantry Company — Border Sentinel — and agents of the Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese) and the Border Police Battalion of the Paraná Military Police.
Located on the border with Paraguay, the clandestine ports “were used by organized crime [groups] as an entryway for drugs, weapons, ammunition, and various illicit products,” indicated an EB statement.
Soldiers operated along a 100-kilometer perimeter border between the municipalities of Santa Helena and Lindeiros de Guaíra, in Paraná.
“The work included georeferenced mapping and the destruction of areas used by criminals to promote drug and arms trafficking, as well as contraband and embezzlement,” a PF statement said.
Itaipu Lake is man-made, formed in 1982 to serve as reservoir for the Itaipu Dam. In 1990, it became one of the main routes used by drug traffickers and smugglers to move their products into Brazil.
The lake is also used as an escape route for criminals who try to cross the border illegally.
The Brazilian Navy provides support to police forces by patrolling the lake with the Raptor 888 Poraquê armored speedboat. The EB participates in Operation Importunus, which conducted its first phase in November 2020.
These activities are part of Brazil’s National Border Security Program, an interagency initiative to combat crime.
“Considering that these clandestine ports are created in the riverside forest of Itaipu Lake, in an environmentally protected area, the owners of these areas [used by criminals] were mapped and identified,” a PF statement said.
“Actions may be taken under environmental law against those who allow criminal activities to occur on their property,” said the PF.