Jarvis Pavão, the jailed drug trafficker whose brother Ronny was recently murdered

The murder of a convicted drug kingpin's brother on the border between Brazil and Paraguay is the latest indication of an ongoing battle for control of lucrative drug trafficking routes in the area, which is well known for violence and corruption linked to the narcotics trade.

Ronny Pavão, the brother of jailed Brazilian drug trafficker Jarvis Pavão, was killed by unknown assailants on the night of March 14 in the border town of Ponta Porã, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, O Globo reported.

Jarvis Pavão was one of Paraguay's most-wanted criminals when he was arrested in 2009 alongside Carlos Antonio Caballero, alias "Capilo," another suspected top drug trafficker with links to Brazilian crime groups. Jarvis is currently serving a prison sentence in the Paraguayan capital Asunción.

Brazilian police believe the attack on Jarvis' brother Ronny came as a response to the June 2016 ambush that killed Jorge Rafaat Toumani, another top drug trafficker in the Paraguay border region, Brazilian news outlet Extra reported.

Authorities believe that Jarvis Pavão ordered Rafaat's murder in order to consolidate his group's control over smuggling routes in the area.

Ronny Pavão's attackers have yet to be identified, but authorities reportedly suspect that Adair José Belo, a former member of Brazil's military police who has been linked to Rafaat's organization, may have ordered the killing. ABC Color reports that Belo may be positioning himself to become the new "capo" of the border region.

InSight Crime Analysis

The killing of Ronny Pavão is not the first indication of a brewing narco war along the Paraguay-Brazil border. In August 2016, assassins killed a local mayor and a police official in separate attacks, once again stoking fears over criminal violence in the region, as both of the victims had voiced concerns about drug-related corruption before their deaths.

The town of Pedro Juan Caballero, which is in Paraguay across the border from Ponta Porã where Ronny Pavão was killed, has long been known as a hotbed of violence and corruption linked to criminal activities. One example of this came in 2015, when authorities discovered that an airport in Pedro Juan Caballero was being used almost exclusively for drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

The town's strategic location -- directly on the border with Brazil, home to South America's largest drug market -- makes it coveted territory for drug traffickers shipping cocaine from the Andes or marijuana from Paraguay, one of the world's biggest cannabis producers.

In light of the area's attractiveness for criminal groups and its weak law enforcement institutions, the recent series of murders is perhaps unsurprising. It is worth noting, however, that both Pavão's and Rafaat's organizations were suspected of having ties to Brazil's two main criminal groups, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) and the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). And both of those gangs are believed to operate in Pedro Juan Caballero.

Rather than a straightforward, tit-for-tat revenge killing, it is possible that Ronny Pavão's murder could signal a broader underworld shake-up in the region that could potentially be exacerbated by the recent dissolution of a long-standing PCC-Red Command alliance, which was linked to a wave of deadly violence that swept through Brazil's prison system earlier this year.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power. In rural sectors, uniformed BACRIM armed with assault rifles still patrol in...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy. Unlike their paramilitary and drug cartel predecessors, the BACRIM maintain a diversified...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...