Brazilian security forces blew up some 20 clandestine ports used for international drug and arms trafficking and smuggling in the border region with Paraguay. Activities focused in southern Brazil’s Guaíra region, in Paraná state, as part of the fourth phase of Operation Importunus, under the Federal Police’s (PF) Special Maritime Police Unit, with support from the Border Police Battalion (BPFron), a Military Police’s specialized unit responsible for fighting crime throughout Paraná’s border region, and the Brazilian Army (EB), among other institutions.
During a three-day operation carried out in March, the clandestine ports — improvised docks criminals use to load or unload contraband, drugs, and weapons — were destroyed. According to authorities, 80 percent of illegal goods leaving Paraguay reach Brazil by water, mainly via the Itaipu Lake, which is almost 200 kilometers long.
In some areas, criminals are able to cross the border in as little as five minutes, smuggling cigarettes, pesticides, as well as weapons and drugs by boat. The clandestine ports are located in the riparian forest region, within environmental protection areas.
During the interventions, “the teams were not only able to keep up with the initial plan of disabling the accesses, but also to seize contraband,” as they approached suspicious vessels and inspected them, the PF said, adding that the goal was to “curb criminal organizations in the region.”
“Considering that these clandestine ports are built in the riparian forest of the Itaipu Lake, in an environmental protection area, the owners of the areas were mapped and identified,” the PF said. “Measures related to environmental legislation may be taken against those who allow crime to happen on their property,” the institution added.
Throughout 2021, authorities carried out other similar strategic actions to disrupt criminal organizations in the region. In 20 days, in February 2021, Operation Importunus destroyed 41 clandestine ports located on the shores of the Itaipu Lake. From December 1-6, 2021, a team of Federal and Military Police officers destroyed 15 clandestine ports in the same area.
On January 31, 2022, BPFRon presented the yearly results of the unit’s activities. The group monitored some 300 clandestine ports scattered along the banks of the Paraná River and the Itaipu Lake. The surveillance helps to combat trafficking and contraband and seize illegal goods and drugs that criminals try to introduce into the country.