In late November 2021, the Uruguayan Ministry of the Interior reported that the Police of the Rivera department seized more than 1,500 kilograms of marijuana, a record seizure of this drug for the South American country. The seizure took place under Operation Ryguasu, which after months of investigations determined that marijuana would be brought by land from Brazil.
Authorities began their investigations on September 28, after seizing about 50 kg of marijuana and arresting a man who had a criminal record, the Uruguayan newspaper Montevideo reported. As a result of this operation, Police conducted intelligence and exchanged information with partner agencies, and determined that in mid-November, several vehicles carrying a large shipment of Paraguayan marijuana would enter Uruguay from Brazil, the newspaper reported.
“As a result, surveillance teams were positioned in various points of the city of Rivera. The [Police] officers detected three vehicles traveling together and began a low-profile monitoring,” the Ministry of the Interior said in a November 23 statement.
At the time, authorities intercepted one of the vehicles with nearly 800 kg of marijuana, while the other two fled. During the chase, a pickup truck hit a tree and rolled over. In this vehicle, authorities found more than 450 kg of the drug. Soon after, the Police was able to find the third vehicle, which had been abandoned with nearly 330 kg of marijuana.
In a press conference with Attorney General Juan Gómez, Minister of the Interior Luis Heber said that this was the largest marijuana seizure in Uruguay’s history, and praised the coordinated work between the Office of the Attorney General and the different units of the National Police.
“It’s a very large blow to narcotrafficking, and therefore we are going to persist in our actions in the fight against drug trafficking and drug dealing, which also generates related crimes,” Minister Heber said, the Uruguayan newspaper El País reported.