On June 26, the Brazilian Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese) burned nearly 23 metric tons of drugs in various cities, nationwide. The measures were part of National Drug Policy Week. The incinerated drugs included cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, and hashish, in addition to pesticides, and smuggled controlled substances, such as methamphetamine, tetracaine, and n-ethylpentylone, according to a PF statement. More than 39 metric tons of drugs have been incinerated in 2020, despite the restrictions imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
PF’s main operations in several states were as follows:
Rio de Janeiro
In addition to incinerating 5 metric tons of narcotics seized during various operations, PF organized a solidarity campaign to collect food, as well as hygiene and cleaning supplies, to be donated to low-income families. In total, PF collected close to 1 metric ton of products and donated more than 80 bags of basic goods to the Red Cross, to be distributed to the population.
PF and other local police departments incinerated 1.5 metric tons of drugs seized in 2019 and 2020. Police destroyed counterfeit medications, 200 kilograms of cocaine, and 1.1 metric tons of marijuana. PF incinerated over 12 metric tons of drugs in a sugar and alcohol plant in São José do Rio Preto, where the drugs were seized in PF-led operations carried out in the last three months.
Over 1.6 metric tons of drugs were incinerated at a ceramic company in the metropolitan region of Fortaleza. More than 1.5 metric tons of cocaine, 95.6 kg of marijuana, 29,956 units of ecstasy, and 235 ampoules of anabolic substances were destroyed.
PF launched Operation Paronym (Operação Parônimo) to combat drug trafficking via mail. Investigations started when the Post Office security department suspected that a parcel addressed to a resident of the Vitoria municipality contained illicit drugs. After seizing the package, PF determined that it contained LSD, which originated in Iguazu Falls, Paraná state. The suspects will be charged with interstate drug trafficking and could be sentenced between five to 15 years in prison.
Rio Grande do Norte
On June 24, during National Drug Policy Week, PF arrested two women at the Aluízio Alves International Airport, in the metropolitan region of Natal, on drug trafficking charges. The women carried 59.45 kg of marijuana in their luggage on a flight from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina state.
According to Tássio Muzzi, regional commissioner of the Rio de Janeiro PF, “PF has been doing a quiet, but very efficient job to combat drugs in the country.” Moreover, Muzzi said intelligence operations to identify the origins of drug traffickers’ resources that sustain this illicit market have been intensified. “The resources seized in financial investigations have a significant impact. This has been progressing,” he said.
“There are less resources left to invest. Despite being illegal, the criminal organization is like a company. The cost-benefit is less advantageous, therefore there is less incentive for people to pursue this path,” concluded the official, adding that PF seeks partnerships with other intelligence agencies, including from other countries.