The flow of drugs and blood in the Amazon tri-border region

Charles Parkinson – In Sight Crime, 4/4/2014

Deep in the Amazon, where ColombiaBrazil and Peru meet, the once crime saturated Colombian city of Leticia enjoys relative tranquility, while Brazilian neighbor Tabatinga is rocked by drug trade violence.

The tri-border region’s geographical position leaves it at the heart of a booming drug trade facilitated by porous borders, a fluid population and disparate resources between the three nations.

Across the Amazon River from Leticia, drug traffickers take advantage of Peru’s inadequate state presence to grow and process coca. Drugs flow from the area into regional and international markets, with Brazil’s Amazon capital, Manaus, a key transit point situated a three day riverboat ride from the tri-border area. The drugs also fuel local micro-trafficking, with sales concentrated in poor border communities.

Read more…

The Sinaloa Cartel’s Brazilian chancellor

Anabel Hernandez & Philippe Engels – In Sight Crime, 2/21/2014

US security forces have identified a Brazilian businessman as an important money laundering connection for Mexico‘s most powerful criminal organization the Sinaloa Cartel — which appears intent on extending its tentacles into Brazil.

From his home in Florida in the United States, Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho operates a network of shell companies discovered in 2008 during an investigation by US agencies the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Official documents declassified by the US government show that Rojo Filho, along with his accomplice, the Portuguese businessman Pedro Benevides, was identified in a report sent to the State Department in 2012 as a “financial component of the Sinaloa Cartel” and was accused by the DEA of conspiring to traffic and distribute drugs in the United States.

Read more…

São Paulo paves new drug treatment path in Cracolândia

The Pan-American Post, 1/27/2014

After years of São Paulo officials employing forced treatment and other heavy-handed tactics to fight the city’s crack epidemic, Mayor Fernando Haddad is trying a new approach. But his attempts to implement a health-based, humane line of attack against crack abuse are being challenged by state police, who favor more orthodox law enforcement practices.
Earlier this month, Haddad announced a strategic shift in the city’s battle with rampant crack cocaine use in the central slum popularly known as Cracolândia.  He unveiled “Operation Open Arms,” a new program which provides housing, food and work opportunities to those living on the streets in the neighborhood. Inspired by the success of similar programs in the Netherlands and Canada, participants will receive roughly $6.50 USD a day in exchange for cleaning parks and other public places. They will also be given meals, medical care and group housing in local motels, according to G1. Giving up drug use is not a condition for participating in the program, though participants will be encouraged to do so and will have greater access to addiction treatment programs.  Some 300 people have been enrolled in the program thus far, and were moved into motels after their improvised shelters were demolished on January 14 and 15.
While Haddad has touted the program as a bold embrace of harm reduction-based treatment, some are skeptical of the program. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, many view it simply as an attempt to temporarily clean up the city’s streets in time for the World Cup. Several drug treatment experts who work in Cracolândia told the CSM they are doubtful that the program can offer a long-term solution to crack addicts.

French film producer arrested in Rio

Anna Kaiser – The Rio Times, 07/11/2013

French producer of “City of God” and other well-known independent Brazilian films, Marc Beauchamps, was arrested by the Federal Police in the São Conrado neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday on international drug trafficking charges. Beauchamps is incarcerated in Ary Franco prison awaiting extradition to France.

A warrant for his arrest for transporting narcotics from Brazil to France was issued by the French government. Several others involved in the scheme are already in prison in Europe.

Brazil’s Attorney General, Mário José Gisi, fulfilled a request from The Court of Appeals of Paris to hand over a document to Federal Supreme Court (STF) Justice Rosa Weber, which accused Beauchamps of transporting, acquiring, exporting and possessing narcotics and called for a three-year prison sentence.

Read more…