The need to increase the surveillance of explosives trade became the main focus in Operation Ágata 5, started on Aug. 6 by the Brazilian Ministry of Defense at the border between Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The Brazilian Army’s intelligence department identified at least six locations that may be providing the material for gangs that loot ATM machines in the southern part of the country.
Operation Ágata, which is a creation of the Border Patrol Strategic Plan was launched in June 2011 by president Dilma Rousseff. It is coordinated by the Joint Staff of theBrazilian Armed Forces with the participation of the Navy, Army, Air Force, eight ministries, 20 regulatory agencies, and federal, state and municipal entities.
Approximately ten thousand military service members and civilians are acting to look out for and suppress crimes at the border in an area of almost 3,900 kilometers, extending from Chui – in the extreme southern part of the country – to the Acorizal district, municipality of Corumba (Mato Grosso do Sul).
On Aug. 8, Minister of Defense Celso Amorim, will visit different locations in the region covered by Ágata to follow up on the development of the military activities. Aside from the subject of explosives, the Armed Forces perform check points on roads, patrol the rivers and creeks, and inspect airfields. The goal is to reduce the amounts of drug and weapons trafficking, animal contraband and other products imported from neighboring countries, among other crimes.
The fifth edition of Operation Ágata incorporates a series of missions that the Armed Forces have been executing throughout the 16,880 kilometers of border with ten South American countries. Since June, the planning of the military operation required a series of meetings to detail the locations that will be more heavily inspected. Because of that, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, headed by the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, opted to patrol the border region of the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, and Mato Grosso do Sul.
Other participants in the operation include: the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Patrol, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, the National Department of Public Security, the Federal Revenue Service, the Chico Mendes Institute, the National Agency of Civil Aviation , the National Oil Agency, and other entities and organisms from the four states of the country.
In addition to fighting against crime at the border, the Armed Forces, with the support from the federal, state, and municipal governments, will deploy social and civil operations. Known as ACISO, these operations encompass the work of doctors and health professionals dedicated to serving the underprivileged populations. In this edition of Ágata, the Ministry of Health participates more actively by providing medication to the residents of nearby cities.
Operation Ágata 5 must conclude by the second half of August, with the demobilization of the entities involved in the surveillance. According to the Border Patrol Strategic Plan, the Ministry of Justice will then initiate Operation Sentinel, which also has the goal of pursuing the fight against border crimes in South American countries.