Brazil Broke Up 65 Criminal Gangs in Border Surge: President

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Brazil has dismantled 65 criminal organizations operating on its borders since the start of a major security initiative in 2011, according to the president, though this success is tempered by the increasingly transnational operations of its major domestic gangs.

In August 2011, Brazil implemented the $6.3 billion “Strategic Border Plan,” aimed at combating drug and contraband trafficking along its 16,000 kilometer border. The plan has involved security cooperation with Colombia, Bolivia and Peru.

The armed forces and police have seized 360 tons of drugs and 8,000 vehicles and boats, and have located 148 clandestine landing strips over the course of the initiative, said President Dilma Rousseff.

The president also announced that an extensive military border operation will be launched in May, aiming to increase security ahead of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup soccer tournament, which will take place in June.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Brazilian government has frequently hailed the Strategic Border Plan as a success.

Nonetheless, there is reason for concern about the country’s border security. Paraguayan authorities recently reported that Brazilian gang the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) ships 1 ton of Colombian cocaine across Brazil’s borders via Paraguay each month, with an important branch of the group based in the Paraguayan border city Ciudad del Este.

Also of concern is the continuing westward expansion of the First Capital Command (PCC), which is believed to have an established presence in Bolivia, particularly in drug trafficking hotspot Santa Cruz.

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