Paraguay Ups Counter-Narcotics Effort on Border with Brazil

first_img ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – The Comando Vermelho (Red Command) and Primer Comando Capital (First Capital Command or PCC), two of the biggest crime organizations operating in Brazil, have become the primary targets of Paraguay’s counter-narcotics forces. “The men in these two organizations come to Paraguay to put together the shipments of marijuana, the [drug] sales and other illegal activities,” said Miguel Chaparro, who heads Paraguay’s Anti-drug Secretariat (SENAD). Chaparro said Paraguay is targeting these crime syndicates because “80% of the marijuana being grown in Paraguay ends up in Brazil, according to statistics.” Chaparro said members of the Comando Vermelho, which is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the PCC, which has its roots in São Paulo, Brazil, have established a presence in the Paraguayan cities of Pedro Juan Caballero (Amambay Department), Saltos del Guairá (Canindeyú Department) and Ciudad del Este (Alto Parná Department). What do the Paraguayan cities have in common? They are all on the border with Brazil. “The men come here to assemble several tons of marijuana, which they then send to Brazil,” Chaparro said. “These guys have been doing away with all the small drug producers and dealers in Paraguay, using mafia methods.” SENAD scored a victory on April 7, when agents arrested five Brazilian citizens with alleged ties to the Comando Vermelho during a raid in the municipality of Puente Kyhá in the department of Canindeyú. Two shotguns, a rifle, a machine gun, four bulletproof vests and several 3.3-pound bricks of marijuana ( 3.3 lbs. each) were confiscated from the Brazilians, who were placed in the custody of the Paraguayan district attorney for their alleged involvement in drug trafficking. “By capturing these members of Comando Vermelho, we’ve shown there is a feud with other criminal groups, all trying to control [drug traffic in] that area,” Chaparro said. Chaparro said the departments of Amambay and Canindeyú have the biggest concentrations of marijuana farms. But that may change. SENAD and Brazil’s Federal Police have partnered for operation “New Alliance,” in which agents work together to eradicate illegal crops. On March 23, forces destroyed 250 acres of marijuana planted on an area known as “Sarambí Hill.” “This is equivalent to removing about 312 tons of marijuana from the drug market,” according to a SENAD report. Security forces destroyed 25 camps containing more than 130,000 pounds of marijuana combined. “This means a loss of more than US$4 million” for the narco-traffickers, according to SENAD’s report, which stated Paraguayan marijuana sells for US$1,000 a kilogram (2.2 pounds) in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile. “The SENAD wants to chip away at the drug-traffickers’ finances, destroying marijuana plantations right at harvest time, when they’ve already invested a lot [of money] in the crop, and have already paid the growers and bought equipment for the job,” SENAD said in a statement. In 2010, the SENAD eradicated a total of 2,500 acres of marijuana plantations, containing about 6.6 million pounds of the narcotic. This year, the Ministry of the Interior, through the Counter-narcotics Division of the National Police, implemented operation “Ko’e Pyahu” (New Dawn, in Guaraní). The goal is to destroy narcotics being grown and produced in departments along the Paraguay-Brazil border. So far, the initiative has led to the eradication of 800 tons of marijuana, Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola said. “The estimated value at the production site is about US$10million, and for the regional markets it is US$200 million, which means we greatly hurt organized crime,” Filizzola said during a media conference in February. “With regard to this operation (Ko’e Pyahu), we should establish that there was a prior gathering of intelligence, not only in the departments that were affected but in all departments around the country. For this action we’ve taken as a point of reference those departments that are known for having the largest production of marijuana.” Meantime, Rubén Rosas Florentín, chief commissioner of the San Pedro Police Department, said those growing marijuana often are field laborers who are being exploited by narco-traffickers. “Those growing the marijuana gain the least (economic) benefit because they’re peasants who are being used by middlemen and financial backers,” Rosas told Radio Cardinal. “With these operations [now being conducted], we’re trying to discourage the illegal production of these crops and we’re hoping to convince producers that the best thing to do is to start planting legal crops [instead].” By Dialogo April 15, 2011last_img read more

PCL 4-Day Tournament…. Chanderpaul comes to Jaguars rescue again

first_img– veteran left-hander crafts even 100 on first dayAT age 42, veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul drew on every ounce of his experience and defied a strong Barbados Pride bowling attack with a tenacious, even hundred to lead the Guyana Jaguars to 311 all out on the first day of the Day/Night fourth-round Regional Four-Day Championship fixture, at the Guyana National Stadium.Watched by a handful of spectators, the obdurate left-hander frustrated the visitors with his awkward, crab-like stance and intense concentration to complete his 72nd first-class 100, an innings which showed him to be in a different class from his team-mates.It all stemmed from Leon Johnson winning the toss, and opting to bat. The hosts omitted Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Eon Hooper from their 13, but after ending the first session on 99-3, Chanderpaul was his usual resourceful self, and took complete control after five wickets had tumbled around him.Ably supported by Raymond Reifer and Gudakesh Motie, at the back end of the innings, it was once again left for the West Indies most capped Test player to rescue the Jaguars.Chanderpaul added 85 for the sixth-wicket with Reifer, and 70 for the ninth-wicket with Motie, but when he was bowled by Kemar Roach just before the close, he had struck 13 fours from 141 balls in just over four hours of batting.Earlier, when play began in bright sunshine, both openers, Rajendra Chandrika and Shimron Hetmyer got off the mark with classy boundaries off Justin Greaves, and despite being somewhat scratchy and nervous for the first half hour of play, the left and right-hand combination slowly thwarted the Barbadians for over an hour on a pitch that appeared even-paced.The Barbadian fast bowlers bent their backs, but lacked a cutting edge at the start, allowing the Guyanese to build a 49-run opening stand.The 19-year-old, Hetmyer was the more aggressive, unleashing several stylish shots, including sixes off pacer Kemar Roach and the off-spinner Royston Chase.Chandrika, the discarded West Indies Test opener was then bowled between bat and pad by a delivery from Chase (2-72) for 11. The Guyanese captain Leon Johnson, got off the mark with a trade mark cover boundary, but it quickly became 61-2, when he offered no shot, and was trapped leg before to Chase.Hetmyer, the former West Indies youth captain continued to show zero discomfort, especially against the spinners, and reached his half-century, with his sixth boundary off just 55 balls in company of Vishaul Singh.However, the visitors snatched a wicket on the break of dinner, through Hetmyer’s impatience and poor shot selection.Having done the hard work, the Berbician threw his wicket away when he mistimed a pull off Jonathan Carter (2-50), and was taken at the deep square leg boundary. His innings of 60, lasted for 120 minutes off 77 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.The Barbadians came back attacking in the second session but Singh and Chanderpaul opted for the patience route.The left-handed pair soldiered on for just over an hour to keep the hosts from further imploding.Both batsmen were in no state to take risks, and kept picking whatever singles or twos were on offer, but the regular bowling changes made by Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, paved the way for two quick wickets.Both Singh (40) and Christopher Barnwell (4), who selection to the team remains questionable, and who continued to looked completely out of sorts at the crease, were trapped leg before wicket to medium pacer Kevin Stoute (2-52), leaving the Guyanese at 148-5. Singh batted for 93 minutes, and faced 86 balls, including six hits to the boundary ropes.Raymond Reifer joined Chanderpaul, and together took the Guyanese to 194-5 at the end of the session.The 42-year-old ex-West Indies captain occasionally came out of his shell with crisp attacking strokes. He stroked Stoute for consecutive boundaries, the first a pleasant cut behind point and then a sweetly timed shot off his hips.He reached his 136th first-class 50 with his eighth boundary off Jonathan Carter, and looked in complete control of proceedings before Reifer (35), who was batting with commendable restraint gave Stoute an easy catch at mid-on off Carter for 35.Roach (3-47) had Anthony Bramble caught at backward point for one, before Veerasammy Permaul became Roach’s second victim when he offered Shai Hope a diving catch at point, 234-8.Motie joined Chanderpaul, and provided clever support to frustrate the visitors. Chanderpaul got to his 100 with a single to short mid-wicket off Roach.Motie was left unbeaten on 36 when left-arm spinner Jomal Warrican removed Keon Joseph for two.Play resumes today from 15:00hrs, and admission to the venue is free.GUYANA JAGUARS 1st inningsR Chandrika b Chase 11S Hetmyer c Warrican b Carter 60L Johnson lbw b Chase 4V Singh lbw b Stoute 40S Chanderpaul b Roach 100C Barnwell lbw Stoute 4R Reifer c Stoute b Carter 35A Bramble c Brooks b Roach 1V Permaul c hope b Roach 0G Motie not out 36K Joseph lbw b Warrican 2Extras: (nb-16, lb-2) 18Total: (all out; 88.2 overs) 311Fall of Wickets: 1-41, 2-61, 3-99, 4-138, 5-148, 6-233, 7-234, 8-234, 9-304, 10-311Bowlers: K. Roach 16-2-47-3, J. Greaves 12-3-42-0, K. Stoute 16-3-52-2, R. Chase 18-4-74-2, K. Brattwaite 4-0-14-0, J. Carter 11-0-50-2, J. Warrician 11.2-4-30-1last_img read more

Dodgers trade Howie Kendrick to Phillies

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I don’t want to comment on that,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said Friday. “He was a really good player for us for two years and actually had a willingness and really did add a lot of positional and lineup versatility for us. Just kind of looking forward with some of our youth internally and some of our other targets externally and with the outfield picture returning to health, the need wasn’t as great as when we were really lucky enough to sign Howie late last offseason and be able to bring in another experienced bat at that time.”The swap of Kendrick (who will make $10 million) for Ruf (arbitration eligible) and Sweeney (not even on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster yet) also gives the Dodgers “some additional financial flexibility to retain some of our free agents that are out there,” Zaidi said. That group is headlined by Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and Rich Hill but also likely includes less expensive veterans Utley and Joe Blanton.Kendrick was part of the Dodgers’ offensive surge in midseason. But a slow start and a poor finish resulted in the worst offensive season of his 11 years in the big leagues. His .255 batting average, .366 slugging percentage and .691 OPS were all career lows.Kendrick figures into the outfield picture for the Phillies but there could be moving parts there as well. Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez has been mentioned frequently in offseason trade speculation, a move that could land Kendrick back at his former position.Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ plans at second base are in flux. Zaidi mentioned Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor as possibilities there. Catcher Austin Barnes can also play second base. And the Dodgers have interest in bringing 37-year-old veteran Utley back despite his diminishing offensive contributions. The free agent hit just .236 with a .292 on-base percentage from the start of June until the end of the season but was a key factor in a changed clubhouse culture. The Dodgers needed Howie Kendrick to be open-minded in 2016 and he was. They did not need him enough in 2017 to risk that turning to bitterness.Kendrick was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf and former Dodgers minor-leaguer Darnell Sweeney. After receiving a cold shoulder on the free agent market last winter (in part because of the draft-pick compensation attached to him), the 33-year-old Kendrick signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers and accepted a utility role. The career second baseman started 79 games in left field and 14 at third base but only 23 at second base where Chase Utley had also returned as a free agent and became the primary starter.But there were reports already this offseason that Kendrick was frustrated with his role, particularly as Andrew Toles soaked up more playing time in left field late in the season, and didn’t want to return to it again in 2017. The Dodgers moved quickly to trade Kendrick — whether he had actually requested it or not.center_img “There’s still some free agent and trade targets that we’re looking at at second base and we’ve got plenty of off-season left if we decide to go with a more experienced player there,” Zaidi said.Sweeney (who was traded from the Dodgers to the Phillies in the deal that brought Utley to L.A. in August 2015) has also played second base but profiles more as a utility player and will likely start next season in Triple-A, according to Zaidi.One of the Dodgers’ top prospects, Willie Calhoun, is also a second baseman. He is coming off a strong season in Double-A and was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League’s all-star game last weekend. But is not ready to figure in the second-base mix, Zaidi said.“I think the lack of Triple-A experience obviously would suggest he’s going to need more time. That would be my expectation,” Zaidi said. “But we’ve made an effort to incorporate some younger players into the big-league club in different roles. You never want to rule out a guy accelerating the timetable on you.”In Ruf, the Dodgers acquire a player Zaidi said they pursued at the trade deadline to try and solve “our issues against left-handed pitching.” The Dodgers were the weakest-hitting club in the majors against left-handed pitching in 2016. In his five seasons with the Phillies, the 30-year-old Ruf hit .299 with a .921 OPS and 17 home runs in 318 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers (.206, .643 and 18 home runs in 515 against right-handed pitching). He profiles as a “power bat against left-handed pitching,” a role Scott Van Slyke filled in the past. Van Slyke (who had wrist surgery in September) is also arbitration eligible and is a prime candidate to be non-tendered and become a free agent. The Dodgers are already loaded with outfielders, particularly with Toles’ emergence and the expected returns to health of Andre Ethier and Trayce Thompson.“Right now, we actually feel pretty good about the group of guys we have,” Zaidi said of the outfielders. “It’s not a position we are targeting right now in terms of bringing another guy in. But we’ll obviously keep our eyes open and be opportunistic if something comes up that would help our team.”last_img read more