Brazilian Army Operation Oversees Production and Trade of Explosives

The fourth edition of Operation Fuse (Operação Rastilho) steps up oversight of explosives from registered companies.
Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo | 9 July 2018

Transnational Threats

The inspections of Operation Fuse rely on interagency collaboration that includes service members and other agencies, such as the Federal, Civil, and Military Police. (Photo: Brazilian Army)

The Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) conducts Operation Fuse nationwide to more tightly oversee and control production, storage, trade, transportation, and use of explosives and related products, since September 2015. From April 24-27, 2018, Fuse IV deployed 1,164 men and 224 vehicles, resulting in 754 searches and inspections over 9,034 kilometers. Authorities seized more than 8 tons of illegally stored explosive materials in 141 proceedings, which led to one arrest and the closure of a business.

EB’s Controlled Products Inspection System (SisFPC, in Portuguese) conducts routine inspections of controlled products in accordance with Decree 3665 of November 20, 2000 that regulates the procedures. The system inspects businesses registered with the Armed Forces to conduct activities using explosive materials.

The frequency of attacks on banks and ATM machines with explosives increased. The state of São Paulo registered a 72 percent increase in the first two months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Cases rose from 18 to 31. Theft and robbery at bank branches and ATM machines—using explosives, welding torches, or other weapons—rose from 76 to 84 percent, a 10.5 percent increase, according to the Ministry of Public Security’s Integrated Intelligence Center. Inspections are essential to prevent explosives from registered companies to be used by criminals.

Increasingly more efficient

EB’s Controlled Products Inspection Agency (DFPC, in Portuguese) coordinates Operation Fuse with support from federal, state, and municipal public safety agencies of each region. The following institutions contribute to the interagency work with EB: the Federal, Civil, and Military Police, the Military Fire Brigade, the Federal Highway Police, the Labor Department, the Justice Department, the National Department of Mineral Production, the Federal and State Revenue Services, and the Federal Attorney General’s Office.

“Inspection operations have yielded important results, since 2015, contributing to an improvement in public safety perception about the use of Army-controlled products in illegal activities,” EB told Diálogo. “All this work is part of the new government’s agenda. The initiative brought about a great transformation in SisFPC, with significant changes to its foundation, resulting in a transformed, modern, and efficient system.”

Fuse, in its fourth edition, aims to prevent criminals from diverting and using explosives of registered companies. (Photo: Brazilian Army)

According to DFPC, the results of Operation Fuse showed significant growth throughout the years. According to the data, Fuse IV increased the number of inspected facilities by 45 percent and fines by 119 percent, compared to the previous edition.

“Increase of operations’ productivity occurs even when troops’ headcount and resources are similar to previous years, demonstrating a better use of human and material resources and optimization of the work performed,” EB said. “At first glance, training of those involved reflects increased productivity. We are better prepared to identify paperwork errors at inspected entities.”

Integrated work

Operation Fuse II, carried out March 29-31, 2016, with a larger contingent, inspected more areas as part of preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016. About 2,500 EB service members deployed, conducting 500 inspections and covering roads over 40,000 km.

“These are very intense and short-term operations, with many teams working simultaneously in the streets. It’s a collective effort because we work with other agencies. For us, the efficiency of this type of operation is factual,” said EB Major General Ivan Ferreira Neiva Filho, then director of DFPC, at a press conference launching Fuse III, March 28, 2017. According to Maj. Gen. Neiva the Brazilian interagency operations led to a 30 percent reduction in crimes committed with the use of explosive materials between 2015 and 2016.

Maj. Gen. Neiva led SisFPC between August 2015 and April 2018. Inspections, including Fuse operations, are among the successes of the past three years. In April 2018, EB said 15 increased inspection operations took place in that time frame. The DFPC-coordinated operations were executed simultaneously by the 12 military regions of SisFPC, with the support of the Ministry of Public Security and other federal, state, and municipal government entities. During that time, authorities carried out more than 8,593 inspections, 1,585 proceedings, 36 interdictions, 72 arrests, and seized more than 8.5 tons of explosives, 972 firearms, and nearly 1.5 million munitions.

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