Paraguay to Bolster Military Presence in Three Departments

By Dialogo
February 23, 2015



The Paraguayan Military will increase the number of troops by 50 percent in a region that includes three eastern departments in order to combat two narcotrafficking groups, General Luis Gonzaga Garcete, the commander of the Armed Forces, said.

Currently, the Armed Forces has about 370 troops stationed in the departments of Amambay, San Pedro, and Concepción to fight the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) and Armed Peasant Association (ACA). The government is planning on deploying 185 additional Soldiers to the area.

“The idea is to increase the number of men and means,” Gonzaga Garcete said.

Drug traffickers use Paraguay as a key transshipment point for Bolivian cocaine that they transport to Brazil and Europe. Amambay and Concepción border Brazil, while San Pedro borders Amambay and Concepción to the west. The three departments are hotbeds for narcotrafficking, which is largely overseen by the EPP, the country’s largest guerrilla group.

In recent months, violence by the EPP and the ACA has threatened public safety in the region. For example, the EPP has held Police Officer Edelio Morínigo captive since kidnapping him in July 2014.

Paraguayan security forces made major strides in recent months in the fight against drug trafficking. For example, Paraguay’s National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) seized more than 31 tons of marijuana, which was worth millions of dollars, in two separate operations on September 18, 2014.

First, SENAD agents confiscated 4.5 tons of marijuana from several camps in the district of Itakyry in the Department of Alto Paraná. Later that day, law enforcement officers seized 27 tons of marijuana in the town of Capitán Bado in Amambay.

Colombian counter-narcotics agents seize 3.2 tons of cocaine destined for Mexico


Colombian counter-narcotics agents confiscated 3.2 tons of cocaine in the Caribbean port city of Cartagena before the shipment departed for Veracruz, Mexico, the National Police said on February 18. The cocaine was hidden in a shipment of organic mineral fertilizer.

General Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, director of the National Police's Narcotics Directorate, said the Attorney General’s Office is investigating a company in Bogotá and a customs firm in Cartagena in the Department of Bolívar for their alleged roles in the shipment. The cocaine had a street value of $4.4 million in Mexico.

The National Police did not immediately disclose which narcotrafficking organization was allegedly responsible for the shipment or if any suspects were arrested. However, Restrepo told reporters that “Mexican mafias continue to support themselves using Colombian drug-trafficking rings.”

Drug traffickers often use the Port of Cartagena to transport narcotics destined for Central and North America.

At least twice in a span of four months, law enforcement officers have discovered and seized cocaine that had been hidden in shipments of organic fertilizer. In November, counter-narcotics agents confiscated 193 kilograms of cocaine at the Port of Barranquilla in the Department of Atlántico. That cocaine was destined for Central America. And in a separate operation, a Europe-bound shipment of organic fertilizer that was seized at the Port of Santa Marta in the Department of Magdalena has been sent to be tested for cocaine, Restrepo said.


The Paraguayan Military will increase the number of troops by 50 percent in a region that includes three eastern departments in order to combat two narcotrafficking groups, General Luis Gonzaga Garcete, the commander of the Armed Forces, said.

Currently, the Armed Forces has about 370 troops stationed in the departments of Amambay, San Pedro, and Concepción to fight the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) and Armed Peasant Association (ACA). The government is planning on deploying 185 additional Soldiers to the area.

“The idea is to increase the number of men and means,” Gonzaga Garcete said.

Drug traffickers use Paraguay as a key transshipment point for Bolivian cocaine that they transport to Brazil and Europe. Amambay and Concepción border Brazil, while San Pedro borders Amambay and Concepción to the west. The three departments are hotbeds for narcotrafficking, which is largely overseen by the EPP, the country’s largest guerrilla group.

In recent months, violence by the EPP and the ACA has threatened public safety in the region. For example, the EPP has held Police Officer Edelio Morínigo captive since kidnapping him in July 2014.

Paraguayan security forces made major strides in recent months in the fight against drug trafficking. For example, Paraguay’s National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) seized more than 31 tons of marijuana, which was worth millions of dollars, in two separate operations on September 18, 2014.

First, SENAD agents confiscated 4.5 tons of marijuana from several camps in the district of Itakyry in the Department of Alto Paraná. Later that day, law enforcement officers seized 27 tons of marijuana in the town of Capitán Bado in Amambay.

Colombian counter-narcotics agents seize 3.2 tons of cocaine destined for Mexico


Colombian counter-narcotics agents confiscated 3.2 tons of cocaine in the Caribbean port city of Cartagena before the shipment departed for Veracruz, Mexico, the National Police said on February 18. The cocaine was hidden in a shipment of organic mineral fertilizer.

General Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, director of the National Police's Narcotics Directorate, said the Attorney General’s Office is investigating a company in Bogotá and a customs firm in Cartagena in the Department of Bolívar for their alleged roles in the shipment. The cocaine had a street value of $4.4 million in Mexico.

The National Police did not immediately disclose which narcotrafficking organization was allegedly responsible for the shipment or if any suspects were arrested. However, Restrepo told reporters that “Mexican mafias continue to support themselves using Colombian drug-trafficking rings.”

Drug traffickers often use the Port of Cartagena to transport narcotics destined for Central and North America.

At least twice in a span of four months, law enforcement officers have discovered and seized cocaine that had been hidden in shipments of organic fertilizer. In November, counter-narcotics agents confiscated 193 kilograms of cocaine at the Port of Barranquilla in the Department of Atlántico. That cocaine was destined for Central America. And in a separate operation, a Europe-bound shipment of organic fertilizer that was seized at the Port of Santa Marta in the Department of Magdalena has been sent to be tested for cocaine, Restrepo said.
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