Paraguay: "Marijuana King" Captured

Published: 11 September 2013


Paraguay's National Antidrug Secretariat (SENAD) detained "Marijuana King" Damian Delvalle Sanabria following a raid on Friday, reports InSight Crime. The capture comes more than two years after Delvalle escaped prison in May 2011.

SENAD investigators determined that Delvalle, 51, was residing in a luxury mansion belonging to his partner Mariela Rivarola in the southern city of Encarnacion. Authorities found him hiding in a pool. No weapons or drugs were found in the residence. Several other persons including two men with histories of drug trafficking were also at the mansion, although they were not detained and their identities were not released.

Delvalle was moved to SENAD’s Base of Operations in Asunción.

Encarnacion is near Brazil and borders Argentina, where Dalville is wanted in connection with the kidnapping of Cristian Schaerer, son of a former Argentine minister Pedro Schaerer in 2003. Pedro Shaerer paid a ransom of PYG 1.25 billion, or US$277,300, for his son who was 21 at the time, however, the younger Schaerer was never released and was believed to be killed in captivity in Brazil.

According to the 2013 UN World Drug Report, 80 percent of marijuana produced in Paraguay is trafficked to Argentina and Brazil.

Delvalle was originally arrested in January 2011 and found with two tons of marijuana. He escaped prison in 2011 with a false judicial release order which allegedly cost him $150,000.

Delvalle's capture is a significant win for newly sworn in President Horacio Cartes who has battled allegations of drug trafficking himself during his campaign.