Paraguayan and Brazilian Anti-Drug Authorities Agree to Expand Border Operations
By Dialogo February 20, 2009Paraguayan anti-drug authorities and the Federal Police of Brazil have agreed to intensify operations to destroy marijuana plantations along their common borders, an official Paraguayan source reported to Asunción. The National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) reported in a statement that the joint war on drug trafficking will be intensified in March, mainly in the department of Amambay, which is northeast of Asunción and shares a border with the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. This project was analyzed by the authorities of SENAD and the Federal Police of Brazil in a meeting held the day before in the town of Pedro Juan Caballero, the capital of Amambay, located 530 kilometers northeast of the Paraguayan capital. According to Paraguayan authorities, drug dealers compete for control of marijuana cultivation and cocaine traffic in the border regions of Amambay, Concepción, and Canindeyú. On the other hand, Minister of the Interior Rafael Filizzola told reporters today that the possibility of undertaking a joint operation of the Police and the Armed Forces in these areas, similar to those implemented in January in the department of San Pedro (center), is being considered. These operations were performed during investigations initiated after the attack perpetrated by an armed group against a military post. The post was guarded by one of the three soldiers assigned to the station in Tacuatí, San Pedro, on December 31 of last year. However, this operation also focuses on the destruction of marijuana crops. Approximately 5,900 tons of marijuana per year is harvested in Paraguay, representing more than half of South America’s production, which is estimated at 10,000 tons, and is second only to Mexico, with 7,400 tons, according to data from the UN World Drug Report 2008.