In mid-April, Paraguay’s security forces dealt a severe blow to narcotrafficking in several operations, most taking place at the border with Brazil. Authorities destroyed nearly 346 tons of marijuana, including illegal crops and ready-to-consume drugs, the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) said in several statements.
On April 22, SENAD reported that, during search operations aimed at finding narco camps and illicit crops in Caaguazú department, its units found nearly 4 tons of marijuana in the Bella Vista area. The drug was ready for packaging in a rural property.
“At that location, service members found chopped marijuana that was left to dry and had yet to be compacted. The tools for that purpose were also confiscated. In total, the drug found on site amounted to 3,900 kg,” SENAD said in a statement.
On April 20, the institution announced the results of Operation Omega IX, which SENAD and the Joint Task Force (FTC, in Spanish), a unit of the Paraguayan Armed Forces, carried out in the forest areas of Amambay department on April 15-20. Combined elements eradicated nearly 96 hectares of illicit crops, incinerated 19 drug camps, and destroyed a total of about 321 tons of marijuana, SENAD said.
“Following the results obtained, SENAD and the FTC intend to continue implementing more effective surveillance to reduce the level of sowing and replanting. In this last joint action, security forces dealt a financial blow of at least $9.6 million to those who are trying to control the narcotrafficking business at the border,” SENAD said.
On April 16, SENAD reported that, during operations carried out in the Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve, Canindeyú department, its units found an illicit camp of about 7 hectares and destroyed the equivalent of 21 tons of marijuana.
According to a February 2021 report by the international organization InSight Crime, which investigates organized crime in Latin America, Paraguay — the main producer of marijuana in South America — is a key link in the region’s narcotrafficking chain. The organization said that the country produced more than 40,000 tons of marijuana in 2019, and added that criminal groups are expanding their activities, mainly cocaine production.
“With more criminal economies, Paraguay has become a more attractive prospect for international criminal groups, including the notorious Brazilian gangs the First Capital Command and the Red Command,” InSight Crime said.