Operation Ágata 5 Seizes Explosives, Marijuana
By Dialogo August 10, 2012
The mobilization of Brazilian military troops to the southern and western border regions of Brazil resulted in the seizure of 25,935 pounds of explosives in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso. A major load was located in Itiquira, a region in the city of Rondonopolis (Mato Grosso), stored in a truck that transported the product to the quarry region without authorization. The military found 25,604 pounds in the vehicle alone. On Aug. 6, Army soldiers, supported by Federal Police agents seized 330 pounds of dynamite in the Brazilian towns of Ametista do Sul and Frederico Westphalen, in Rio Grande do Sul.
These are the initial results yielded by Operation Ágata 5, which started at the beginning of the week covering 2,423 miles of border with Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. In the past few days, troop participation intensified and reached 17,000 soldiers patrolling the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, and Mato Grosso do Sul. This represents a 70% increase of military and civil contingents at the borders.
On Aug. 9, Brazilian Minister of Defense Celso Amorim; Army Commander General Enzo Martins Peri, and the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, General José Carlos De Nardi, visited the targeted area covered by Ágata 5.
The vandalism of ATM machines in greater Rio Grande do Sul prompted the Intelligence Department of the Army to reassess the storage and trade of dynamite. In past weeks, gangs used explosives to vandalize equipment in four different towns in Rio Grande do Sul. The last incidence took place in the early hours of Aug. 7, in Sao Francisco de Paula, the Serra region. In 2012, the number of vandalized ATM machines reached 12.
The operation resulted in the seizure of explosives. Besides dynamite, the troops found 9,000 meters of twine, 315 fuses, 661 pounds of marijuana, six guns and 86 parcels filled with illegal materials. In the last 48 hours of operation, 8,966 inspections and searches were conducted. The Brazilian Air Force and Civil Aviation Agency searched 11 airfields, including its airplanes and pilots.
Operation Ágata 5 was established by an ordinance signed by President Dilma Rousseff on June 8, 2011. It outlined the Border Patrol Strategic Plan in which the Ministry of Defense, through the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, would lead the operations along the borders of ten countries with 710 Brazilian towns within 11 of its states.
In this edition, the Navy, Army, and Air Force, with the participation of regulating agencies, Federal Police, Federal Highway Patrol, state and municipal forces will fight against the smuggling of narcotics, weapons, contraband and stolen cars, among other illegal activities.
In the targeted area, the Armed Forces count on the support of fighter planes F5, Super Tucano, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), radar airplanes, 30 ships from different ports, Urutu and Cascavel tanks, and light and heavy weapons.
The first two days of Operation Ágata produced the interception of an airplane by the Brazilian Airspace Defense Command and the inspections of 40 vessels. There were 54 patrols in naval, ground, and air missions.