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Paraguayan Anti-Drug Agents Conclude 2020 Dealing Blow to Narcotrafficking on Brazilian Border

Paraguayan Anti-Drug Agents Conclude 2020 Dealing Blow to Narcotrafficking on Brazilian Border

By Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo
February 25, 2021

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The Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) concluded 2020 continuing its fight against narcotrafficking. Among the most relevant operations carried out on the border with Brazil in December are the destruction of about 13.5 tons of marijuana and the dismantling of two cocaine processing labs.

In a statement published on December 17, the SENAD reported that during investigations to detect clandestine drug labs, agents found a cocaine processing center in Ciudad del Este, Alto Paraná department. At that center, SENAD seized a metal press with a production capacity of 30 tons of cocaine, as well as six wooden stamps, seven rustic wooden molds, and packing tape. Authorities captured a man during the operation, the institution said.

On December 12, SENAD dismantled another clandestine center for cocaine processing in the city of Minga Guazú, also in Alto Paraná, where agents seized (an undisclosed amount of) cocaine and several elements for its production, the institution said on its Twitter account.

One day prior, after intense patrolling in a forest area of the city of Capitán Bado, Amambay department, SENAD forces found several campsites and crops scattered over 4 hectares, with marijuana plants in different stages of growth that could produce at least 12 tons of marijuana, the Paraguayan newspaper Última Hora reported.

“During a raid in the San Fernando neighborhood, we destroyed three drug campsites and more than 13 tons of marijuana,” SENAD said on its Twitter account. “The drug was destined for criminal organizations in Brazil.”

At the campsites, Última Hora said, SENAD detected 52 bags containing 1,560 kilograms of chopped marijuana and seized equipment used for drug processing, as well as two motorcycles. The newspaper reported that no one was arrested.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Paraguay is one of the main marijuana producers in South America, and is a transit country for Andean cocaine. The Dutch center for research and political studies Transnational Institute indicates that Paraguay supplies pressed marijuana to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. The departments bordering Brazil, which include Amambay and Alto Paraná, “are directly influenced by narcotraffickers, who operate with total impunity,” the research center says on its website.

In addition, InsightCrime, an organization specializing in security threats in Latin America, says that the country’s northeast is home to 93 percent of the marijuana plantations in the region, and it also suffers greater environmental deterioration caused by criminal groups who seek to expand the marijuana plantations. According to InsightCrime, Brazilian authorities reported an increase in the marijuana supply coming from Paraguay in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.