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Cablegate: Paraguay: Brazilian Drug Trafficker Apprehended

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAC #0672 1841555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031555Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4447
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3486

UNCLAS ASUNCION 000672

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM SNAR PA BR
SUBJECT: PARAGUAY: BRAZILIAN DRUG TRAFFICKER APPREHENDED

REF: 05 ASUNCION 0365 AND PRECEDING

1.(U) SUMMARY: On 6/24, Paraguayan law enforcement arrested
drug trafficker Arnaldo Moreira de Macedo, an associate of
Mendez Mesquita who was extradited to the U.S. in 2005.
Moreira de Macedo was believed to be trafficking 1,000 kg per
month and is wanted on extradition charges in Brazil. This
arrest serves as another example of Paraguay's ability to
conduct important operations in cooperation with Brazilian
and U.S. officials. End summary.

2. (U) On 6/24, Paraguayan law enforcement officials
conducted an operation with the assistance of Brazilian
intelligence and DEA representatives and arrested Arnaldo
Moreira de Macedo (55), a drug trafficker considered to be
the successor of Ivan Mendez Mesquita, who was extradited to
the Unites States in June 2005. De Macedo is a Brazilian
citizen but has been living in Paraguay since 1993 under the
false Paraguayan identity of Ronaldo Alves Dos Santos.
According to the local press, he also used the false
Paraguayan identity of Ronaldo Alves da Silva, but this alias
did not appear in the National Antinarcotics Secretariat
(SENAD) report. Arnaldo Moreira de Macedo was wanted in
Brazil on drug trafficking charges and had been arrested
previously but escaped three times.

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3. (U) De Macedo owned properties in the department of
Concepcion and the Chaco region, and ran an Artificial
Insemination and Genetic Improvement Center (Ciameg) as well
as a business transporting beef. He used the refrigerated
beef shipments to transport cocaine from Colombia, Bolivia,
and Peru to Brazil and European countries such as Holland,
Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Minister Ibarra, the
SENAD chief, believes that De Macedo was transporting more
than 1,000 kg of cocaine per month. His ranch in Concepcion
is known as Estancia Virgen Serrana and was considered to be
a model farm that hosted Paraguayan-Brazilian integration
fairs.

4. (U) SENAD agents have been investigating this case for
several months. On 5/4 a penal court issued a decree for the
preventative detention of De Macedo, with the intention of
extradition. During the investigation SENAD discovered the
location of De Macedo,s residence, in the city of Luque,
near the Silvio Pettirossi international airport. SENAD
presented the information to the antinarcotics prosecutor and
was granted permission for forced entry into the house, in
accordance with the court order. On the same day that
officials raided the houses, a team accompanied by the
assistant prosecutor also raided De Macedo,s office in
downtown Asuncion. Several documents, including false
identification papers, were seized in both locations. In
addition to the documents, authorities seized two trucks, a
car, two motorcycles, and a twin-engine plane. One of the
trucks seized was fully armored. De Macedo,s bank accounts
were also frozen. Among the seized documents are check book
stubs containing the names of judges and prosecutors. On
6/26, local press reported that the documents include a
record of a payment of 30 million guaranies, the equivalent
of USD 5,357, to a court.

5. (U) De Macedo is currently detained at the Emboscada
Penitentiary, located in the Central Department of Paraguay.
He made a court appearance to request habeas corpus but his
request was denied. His wife is under house arrest on charges
related to the same case.

6. Comment: This case serves another example of constructive
SENAD cooperation with Brazilian and DEA officials in the
conduct of an investigation leading to the arrest of a key
Brazilian drug trafficker. Coupled with the seizure of 195 kg
of cocaine in a separate operation on 6/25 (to be reported
separately), it demonstrates SENAD's rising professional
effectiveness. End comment.
CASON

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