Police in Paraguay have arrested an army captain on charges of running a transnational drug trafficking ring, highlighting the extent of drug trade penetration in state institutions.
On February 6, Paraguay’s National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) announced its agents had staged a series of raids in which they seized 352 kilos of marijuana and arrested two men, including army captain Augusto Isaias Bogado Lopez.
According to the SENAD, Bogado was the leader of the trafficking ring, which moved shipments of Paraguayan marijuana to Argentina and Chile. The SENAD believes the other man arrested was the network’s logistical chief, managing international contacts and organizing the dispatch of drug shipments.
The marijuana was seized from a property belonging to Bogado close to the city of Jose Falcon, which is near the border with Argentina.
InSight Crime Analysis
Paraguay’s central role in the drug trade as a major marijuana producer and cocaine transit country, combined with its weak state institutions, make it ripe for corruption.
In the last two months alone, there have been revelations about links between Paraguayan politicians and Brazilian drug trafficking organizations and allegations of systematic police corruption in marijuana growing areas. In addition, Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes has spent years defending himself from accusations of collusion with drug traffickers.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay
Allegations of the military’s involvement with the drug trade date back as far as the military dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner, whose son Gustavo, a lieutenant colonel in the military, was accused of running a cocaine trafficking ring.
While the military and its role in Paraguayan society have changed dramatically since the fall of the dictatorship in 1989, this most recent arrest is far from the only evidence that the institution’s corruption and alleged ties to the drug trade have not.
Over the past few years, various cases have illustrated this, from a former military official caught with cocaine to reports the military had opened fire on Brazilian security forces to protect contraband smugglers.