Brazil’s Security Forces Cooperate to Fight Drug Trafficking in the Tri-Border Amazon
By Dialogo November 23, 2015Brazil is falling apart. People are turning into zombies. Drugs are the worst enemy to society.
Brazil's Army, Federal Police, and Amazonas state security forces are working together to combat the flow of drugs entering the country from the tri-border Amazon region where Brazil, Colombia, and Peru converge.
“Because water routes are the primary means of transportation in the region, almost all of the illicit drugs produced in Peru and Colombia are transported on the Solimões River,” said Alexandre Silveira de Oliveira, Regional Executive Deputy for the Office of the Superintendent of the Federal Police in Amazonas.
Specifically, 70% of the narcotics that enter the Amazonas come in through the Solimões River. To stop them, Troops and police officers launch missions from the Anzol Base, located about 50 kilometers from Tabatinga, where the ferries BA-1 and BA-2 have been docked since the base opened on September 18. The BA-1 is used by nearly 30 police officers to inspect boats and passengers 24 hours a day from its station on the river's right shore. The BA-2, meanwhile, is used by 15 Soldiers who alternate between two shifts on the left bank.
“Our specific mission is to intercept boats that try to evade inspection by BA-1, primarily during the night shift,” said Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Vieira Santana, commanding officer of the Solimões Border Command/8th Jungle Infantry Battalion. “We have a Guardian boat outfitted with two engines and weapons, which provides ideal conditions to fulfill our mission.”
Security forces use technology and trained canines
In that effort, security forces inspected 622 boats on the Solimões River during September – an average of 20 a day – in addition to interviewing or searching nearly 4,800 passengers. Every vessel that navigates the Solimões from Tabatinga to Manaus will continue to be stopped and inspected, except for Navy vessels and boats protected by international treaties.
“In special cases [of suspicious boats], we also stop boats navigating in the opposite direction,” Oliveira said.
Forces bolster security by using sniffer dogs to find drugs and explosives, and units assigned to BA-1 have equipment that helps them conduct nighttime inspections, record images from the river, and transmit data over the Internet, which allows its personnel to support other police squads' activities. Additionally, Military and law enforcement personnel at the Anzol Base also combat the illicit smuggling of merchandise and the illegal exploitation of mines thanks to the support expert technicians and intelligence service members.
Security authorities constructed the Anzol Base close to the confluence of the Solimões and the Javari rivers, a location used to transport the majority of cocaine that's produced in the Alto Huallaga and Vale do Javari areas.
Alto Huallaga, located in the country's northwest, is one of Peru's largest cocaine-producing regions, while Vale do Javari encompasses parts of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru and is home to numerous cocaine plantations. Two Brazilian Army platoons cover that area: the Estirão do Equador Fourth Special Border Platoon (PEF) and the Palmeira do Javari Special Border Platoon.
The location of the base, near the city of Tabatinga and between two islands on the Solimões, is significant because it allows authorities to use the power plant operated by the Amazonas Electric Company and decreases the chances of boats carrying contraband to evade authorities.