• Connect with us on Linkedin

The Sinaloa Cartel's Failed Attempt to Set Up Shop in Paraguay

A report by Paraguayan newspaper ABC details the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel's unsuccessful attempt to establish a precursor chemical trafficking network in the country in 2008.

Linkedin
Google +

The report, published on August 3, outlines how the Sinaloa Cartel attempted to set up an Asuncion-based operation to smuggle ephedrine to Mexico in 2008. Ephedrine is one of the principal precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamine.

Work began in September 2008 when Mexicans Juan Jesus Preciado (pictured, center) and Juan Sevilla arrived in Paraguay, visiting several of the country's cities posing as businessmen wanting to set up a chain of restaurants. They eventually settled in a hotel in Asuncion where they were joined by Jorge Almanza Guzman (right in photo) and Leobardo Gaxiola Lopez (left), also from Mexico.

Preciado had smuggled ephedrine over the border from the Argentine city of Clorinda in a laptop, according to ABC. The men then packed the substance in plastic bags and hid it in a shipment of Argentine tea. However, on the first run, on October 1, 2008, Gaxiola was arrested at Asuncion's Silvio Pettirossi International Airport with just over five kilograms of ephedrine. He confessed to being part of a larger network operating out of the Asuncion hotel, leading to the arrest of Preciado and Almanza, along with a Paraguayan who had been complicit in the smuggling ring. Juan Sevilla had left the country one day before Gaxiola's detention, thus evading capture.

Preciado was later extradited to Argentina, where he had earned the nickname "King of Ephedrine," thanks to his prominence in the illicit trade. Gaxiola and Almanza were sentenced in July this year to 12 years in a Paraguayan prison.

InSight Crime Analysis

The trafficking of ephedrine from Argentina to Mexico has been on the rise since Mexico made the drug illegal in 2007. According to a 2009 MSNBC report, Mexican cartels exploit the comparatively lax regulations in Argentina, setting up front companies to import ephedrine and send it on to Mexico for methamphetamine production. Between 2006 and 2007 Argentina's ephedrine imports rose from 5.5 tons to 28.5 tons.

The Sinaloa Cartel is believed to have a presence in Argentina, with their leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, even rumored to have lived there for a time until March last year. This has, to date, not been replicated in Paraguay, though the 2008 arrests show that the cartel views the country as an important transhipment point for moving precursors. Another Mexican national was arrested in Paraguay in 2010 with some 30 kilograms of ephedrine, which he was reportedly planning to ship to Mexico.

Part of the reason Paraguay is a useful transit hub is due to the country's high level of corruption in the police and military. Two former officials have been detained this year for involvement in cocaine smuggling and there have been reports of Paraguay's military allowing Brazilian traffickers to operate with freedom, even supplying them with weapons.

In June, Paraguayan authorities made their largest ever seizure of drug precursors, confiscating 27,650 liters of sulfuric acid, enough to produce 8 tons of cocaine.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Is Honduras Faking its Falling Homicide Rates?

Is Honduras Faking its Falling Homicide Rates?

Officials say homicides in Honduras have dropped over 15 percent in 2014 compared to the same period the previous year, but it is unclear whether this represents a real reduction in violent crime or is...

Read more

Breaking Down LatAm’s Lucrative Trade in Stolen Cell Phones

Breaking Down LatAm’s Lucrative Trade in Stolen Cell Phones

The Latin American trade in purloined cell phones has evolved from common street crime into a lucrative, well-organized business with transnational reach, and, given weak legislation, corruption and a lack of coordination among security forces,...

Read more

Journalist's Murder Shines Light on Colombia's Politics-Crime Nexus

Journalist's Murder Shines Light on Colombia's Politics-Crime Nexus

A journalist in north Colombia has been murdered after accusing the local mayor's staff of plotting to kill him, in a reminder of ongoing ties between politics and organized crime, and the danger faced by...

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile