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Service Members Combat Illegal Activities in Brazil, at the Suriname and French Guiana Borders

Service Members Combat Illegal Activities in Brazil, at the Suriname and French Guiana Borders

By Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo
January 11, 2021

Between October 22 and November 4, the Brazilian Armed Forces deployed 4,400 service members to combat transborder and environmental crimes in the states of Pará and Amapá, in the northern region of Brazil, at the Suriname and French Guiana borders. The entire area, on the eastern side of the Amazon, represents 16.3 percent of the national territory. Operation Ágata North 2020 was carried out jointly by 16 state and federal organizations, public safety and environmental protection agencies, and had 72 naval, 100 ground, and 14 air resources.

According to the Ministry of Defense, interagency and military activities with members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force resulted in the seizure of drugs, weapons, ore, lumber, and illegal vessels, and contributed to increasing the presence of the State in the Amazon region and expanding knowledge for future strategic activities.

Operation Ágata North 2020 brought together members of the Brazilian Army, Air Force, and Navy, as well as 16 state and federal agencies and public safety and environmental protection agencies. (Photo: Brazilian Ministry of Defense)

Ágata North seized 146,000 tons of manganese, the largest seizure ever made in Pará. All ore seized was extracted illegally and sold using falsified invoices. The equipment used to extract it was also seized.

The final results of the operation included the interdiction of hundreds of vessels during inspections and naval patrols, with 170 served, 91 seized, and two captured. The total amount for infractions for violating the Waterway Traffic Safety Law starts at $2,400 and goes up to $76,000.

The results also include the incineration of 3,000 marijuana plants, which is equivalent to 1 ton of the processed material; the seizure of 2,500 wooden stakes with no legal paperwork, 159 cubic meters of illegally cut lumber, and 1,000 irregular wooden planks; seven shotguns, one rifle and 510 ammunition; and 86 grams of gold. The operations resulted in eight arrests.

Service members also provided medical and dental services to the population of Breves, in Pará, with the Hospital Ship Soares de Meirelles. In total, there were 620 medical, 620 paramedical, and 117 dental services provided.

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