Paraguay Incinerates Record Seizure of 36 Tons of Marijuana
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo October 21, 2021
On September 17, 2021, agents of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) incinerated 36 tons of marijuana in Concepción department.
“It was the largest drug incineration ever carried out in our country,” SENAD said in a statement. The previous record was in 2014, after the seizure of 26 tons of drugs in Capitán Bado, Amambay department.
The incineration of the 36 tons was done at the Internal Defense Operations Command base in Concepción. Units of the Paraguayan Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force found the drug on July 23, during a routine flyover in Paso Barreto district.
From a helicopter, service members witnessed “the activities of a group of people loading bags onto large trucks in a rural estate, in a partly wooded area,” the Paraguayan news portal ADN Digital reported. Service members arrested four people who were storing the shipment, bound for Brazil.
“Part of the drug had already been loaded onto a large truck to smuggle it later into Brazilian territory,” the Paraguayan newspaper ABC reported. Following the mega seizure, SENAD began an investigation to identify the criminal group responsible for the drug.
“After intelligence work, we activated Operation HORSE, capturing the owner of the shipment and his main collaborators,” SENAD reported on September 16. Agents carried out six raids in Pedro Juan Caballero, Horqueta, and Concepción.“Rodrigo Florencio Pedrozo Aguero, alias Kavajú, is the criminal group’s main member, who is already under arrest,” SENAD said.
Paraguay is the main marijuana producer in South America, while Brazil is its main destination, followed by Chile and Argentina, the EFE news agency reported. “In general, local farmers are responsible for the crops and take care of surveillance and stockpiling,” EFE said.
35,000 ecstasy pills
Also on September 16, SENAD agents seized more than 35,000 ecstasy pills at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport. A foreign passenger was carrying the substance on a flight from Frankfurt.
“It is believed that the drugs were to be shipped to the Tri-border area,” SENAD reported. A video released by the anti-drug agency shows that the pills were hidden in the passenger’s two suitcases.
“The special agents pulled him aside to carry out an inspection after there was an alert,” the Paraguayan newspaper Última Hora reported. “Upon opening the foreign national’s suitcases, they found that the internal walls were filled with ecstasy pills or MDMA.” According to SENAD, the drug’s value is around $800,000 in the Paraguayan market.