Brazil Takes Down Gang that Hid Drugs in Overseas Shipments
Brazilian police arrested eight suspected members of a drug trafficking group that operated in the port of Paranaguá and specialized in concealing drugs in containerized shipments. Officials said they dismantled the criminal organization that relied on corrupt port workers and others within the supply chain.
rip-on rip-off, whereby a legitimate shipment is exploited to smuggle contraband from its country of origin, or a transhipment port, to its destination. Often, neither the sender nor the consignee is aware that their shipment is being used to smuggle illicit cargo.The criminal organization used a method known as
Before hiding drugs in shipments, the group provided privileged information on container positions, destinations, and loads to other criminal organizations.
Paranaguá is located in the state of Paraná and its port is the second largest in the country for grain shipments from Brazil. Paraná is strategically close to the so-called Tri-Border Area between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
This makes Paraná attractive to criminal gangs. They also use the region’s ports to access European and African drug markets and bring in weapons from the United States and Europe. The Paranaguá port accounted for nearly 26 percent of the cocaine seized in 2019 from Brazilian ports, Brazil’s Federal Revenue reported.
The dismantled criminal group strategically located containers within port limits to facilitate the drug smuggling. To avoid customs and police raids, its members consciously moved the containers to hard-to-reach places, Brazil’s Federal Police claimed.
This was not the first time that authorities have specifically targeted drug trafficking in Paranaguá. The operation followed an earlier one from late 2020 when nearly 40 drug trafficking suspects were detained in just a single day.