The Amazonian rivers that cross the borders of Colombia and Peru – large producers of cocaine – and Brazil, the second largest consumer in the world and the logistic enclave to export the drugs to Europe and the United States, are now a large narcotics corridor dominated by violence and corruption.
“The Solimoes and Japurá rivers are the drug corridors to northeastern Brazil and Europe,” Bosco Saraiva, secretary of security for the state of Amazonas, told an exclusive interview with Notimex.
Saraiva is also vice governor of this immense Brazilian state bordering Colombia and Peru and which has more than 90 percent of the territory covered by the Amazon rainforest.
“Brazil does not produce weapons, cocaine or marijuana. Brazil is very well guarded. It is the border, in the middle of the Amazon forest, where control is very difficult, “added the source, who pointed out the presence of criminal groups such as the First Commando da Capital and his enemy Familia do Norte to take control of the drug.
Colombia is the largest producer of coca leaf in the world, followed by Peru, according to data from the United Nations.
The Amazon region, where there is a low population density, low human development indexes and large spaces of native forest and a labyrinth of rivers difficult to control, has become a new way to export the drug (cocaine and skunk, marijuana up to 20 times purer than conventional marijuana) to consumer centers.
The data on drug seizures in Amazonas reveal this increase: in 2017, the Civil Police seized six tons of drugs worth 51 million reais (about 16 million dollars), the largest amount since the department was created in 2015. research and fight against narcotics.
The airport of Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, also became in 2017 the second largest in the country – after Sao Paulo, the largest in South America – in amount of drug intercepted, with almost a ton of cocaine, skunk and drugs synthetic
Dozens of sources consulted for this report, among them policemen, ex-policemen and officials of the prison system in Amazonas, reveal that the data do not correspond to the dimension of drug trafficking in the Amazonian rivers.
“Years ago we grabbed a shipment of 40 kilos of cocaine and we were happy. Now they are tons, “said a policeman who investigates the traffic since 2011 and requested anonymity.
“I am sure that 90 percent of ships that come from areas of the border to Manaus carry drugs. For each tonne that we intercepted there are nine others that manage to enter, “the armed agent said with a rifle and minutes before carrying out the inspection of a ship in the port of Manaus.
The Brazilian Army conducts surveillance and control in an area 150 kilometers from the Amazonian border with Colombia and Peru, but the lack of resources and the size of the area – with transnational borders of more than two thousand kilometers – prevent stopping this drug trafficking in increase, according to the authorities.
In addition, the high levels of poverty in areas of the interior of the state of Amazonas, where electricity sometimes does not arrive and the only job is that offered by small town halls, contribute to exposing the population to trafficking cocaine to Manaus from the border. ” for two or three hundred dollars. ”
“The ‘mules’ are women, above all, from 20 to 40 years old, who are exposed to carry the drug in exchange for a quantity that is a misery, but that inside is a lot of money.
When they are arrested or seized with drugs, in the taking of statements sometimes they admit and sometimes they do not. If they admit, they say they do it because they have five or six small children that they have to feed, “explains a policeman.
Sources who asked not to be quoted indicated that there is also a high level of police corruption in rural areas, which makes officials of the security forces part of this illegal business.
Source: Diario de Queretaro