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

Early morning Stock Car winners are Fagan, Zevenbergen

first_imgBOONE, Iowa (Sept. 8) – Stock Car qualifiers that ended in the wee hours of the morning saw Marcus Fagan and Elijah Zevenbergen in the winner’s circle at Boone Speedway.Fagan was first to the checkers in the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s opener while Zevenbergen raced from 10th starting to top the nightcap.Top four finishers from each event advance to the middle row of Saturday’s main event.Jeremy Swanson became the first Montana driver to qualify for the Stock Car feature with his runner-up finish behind Fagan. Howlin’ Jim Powell was third and 30th starting Cayden Carter was fourth.Carter had run 12th in Thursday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series feature.Zevenbergen led two-time champion Donavon Smith, Josh Daniels and David Smith across the stripe.David Smith makes his 11th career Saturday night start at Super Nationals while brother Donavon, also the 2004 Hobby Stock champ, starts his career 10th Stock Car main.Fagan is a four-time qualifier and Daniels is in the big show for the third time. Carter, Powell and Zevenbergen join Swanson as first-timer main event qualifiers.1st qualifying feature – 1. Marcus Fagan, Adair; 2. Jeremy Swanson, Westby, Mont.; 3. Jim Powell, Lecompton, Kan.; 4. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 5. Marty Steinbach, Fremont, Neb.; 6. Brandon Conkwright, Wamego, Kan.; 7. Chad Palmer, Renwick; 8. Troy Woelber, Hull; 9. J.C. Howell, Eustace, Texas; 10. Tyler Pickett, Boxholm; 11. Nick Tubbs, Colby, Kan.; 12. Brandon Taylor, Granbury, Texas; 13. Jason Rogers, Selden, Kan.; 14. Cody Gustoff, Scranton; 15. Donnie Pearson, Oskaloosa; 16. John Heinz, Green Bay, Wis.; 17. Corey Piffer, Indianola; 18. Michael Pepper, Lakin, Kan.; 19. Travis Prochaska, Iowa Falls; 20. Ryan Harris, Hubbard, Neb.; 21. David Wickman, Emmetsburg; 22. Reid Keller, Webster City; 23. K.C. Fielding, Burleson, Texas; 24. Andy Roller, Waco, Texas; 25. Eric Zwirschitz, Antigo, Wis.; 26. Devin Smith, Lake City; 27. Lance Deal, Fort Dodge; 28. Heath Tulp, Britt; 29. Justin Temeyer, Independence; 30. Jake Nelson, Williston, N.D.2nd qualifying feature – 1. Elijah Zevenbergen, Ocheyedan; 2. Donavon Smith, Lake City; 3. Josh Daniels, Carlisle; 4. David Smith, Lake City; 5. Kyle Vanover, Beatrice, Neb.; 6. Trent Murphy, Jefferson; 7. Kyle Pfeifer, Hill City, Kan.; 8. Lynn Panos, Calmar; 9. Dave Atcher, Laurel; 10. Chad Sterling, Stockton, Kan.; 11. Jeff Tubbs, Colby, Kan.; 12. Kyle Frederick, Oconto Falls, Wis.; 13. Mike Hathcock, Venus, Texas; 14. Jason Davis, Norton, Kan.; 15. Matt Schauer, Arlington, Minn.; 16. Joe Spillman, Austin, Texas; 17. Dave Moriarty, Jordan, Minn.; 18. Rodney Richards, Madrid; 19. Kellie Schmit, Britt; 20. Caleb Crenshaw, Fort Worth, Texas; 21. Jeff Mueller, New London; 22. Scotty Pippert, Elberon; 23. Terry Dulin, Cedar Rapids; 24. Bob Fuegmann, Minot, N.D.; 25. Bob Chalupa, McCook, Neb.; 26. Michael Albertsen, Audubon; 27. Perry Misner, Albert, Kan.; 28. Nolan Remus, Cawker City, Kan.; 29. Dylan Heilmann, Green Bay, Wis.; 30. Greg Keuhn, Trenton, Mo. Tenth starting Elijah Zevenbergen won the second on two Stock Car qualifiers on the Thursday schedule at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Tom Macht, www.photofinishphotos.com)last_img read more

Afcon 2017 qualifiers: Dauda warns Black Stars against complacency

first_imgComplacency is the watchword for Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda as the Black Stars face three countries in Afcon 2017 qualifying.The national side has been drawin against Mauritius, Rwanda and Mozambique – a group which has widely been seen as easy across Ghana.“Now every country knows how to play now so we have to focus on qualifying for the Afcon,” he said on Wednesday.Fatau has plenty experience with featuring against teams seen as lower in stature to Ghana, with the most famous perhaps being the loss to Burkina Faso in the Afcon 2013 semifinal in South Africa.All he wants from Ghana over the six games is tunnel vision.“They know that they are coming to face Ghana so they will prepare very and make every effort so it’s not going to be easy at all,” Dauda said in the interview with Metro TV. Ghana start the journey to make another Afcon with Mauritius on the weekend of June 12-14, then an away trip to Rwanda in September and finally host Mozambique in March 2016.The reverse legs will start in March and finish in September next year.–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmithlast_img read more