Report Accuses Bolivian Minister of Ties to Brazilian Traffickers

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A high-ranking Bolivian government minister is suspected of ties to a top Brazilian drug trafficker, according to a Bolivian intelligence report allegedly seen by Veja news magazine.

Brazilian magazine Veja has published a report (see InterAmerican Security Watch’s translation) claiming to have obtained Bolivian intelligence documents linking the country’s presidency minister, Juan Ramon Quintana, with Brazilian drug lord Maximiliano Dorado Munhoz Filho. Munhoz is accused of shipping up to 500 kilos per month of Bolivian cocaine to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The documents were reportedly leaked by a member of President Evo Morales’ party, Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

According to Veja, the documents say that on November 18, 2010, Bolivian police witnessed Quintana and former Miss Bolivia Jessica Jordan enter Dorado’s house in the city of Santa Cruz, and leave 20 minutes later carrying briefcases. At the time of the meeting, Quintana was director of the Agency for Development, and Jordan was regional director of development for Beni state in the northeast.

In January the following year, Bolivian police arrested Dorado and handed him over to Brazilian authorities.

Even police officials sympathetic to Morales have become disillusioned with the president’s failure to combat collusion between officials and drug traffickers, according to Veja, which claims that the president has persecuted those who criticize the government’s narco-ties. Opposition Senator Roger Pinto presented the report documenting Quintana’s meeting with Dorado to Morales in March 2011, says the report, only to be accused of corruption himself. Pinto has been granted political asylum and is currently holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in La Paz.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first accusation of drug trafficking ties high in the Bolivian government. In September last year, Univision reported that it had seen a Bolivian intelligence report that tied 40 officials to a drug trafficking network run by the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. Pinto was accused of having leaked the document, which he denied. In May this year, the country’s former drug czar, recently jailed in the US for drug trafficking, stated that Morales was actively hindering investigations into officials’ ties to the drug trade.

However, many of the accusations have been highly politicized in nature, particularly those of Pinto. Neither Univision nor Veja have published the intelligence documents they claim to have seen.

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