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Cablegate: Paraguay: Money Well Spent; Cops Arrested

VZCZCXYZ0017
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAC #0515 1711847
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201847Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5875
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L ASUNCION 000515

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/20/2027
TAGS: KCRM PREL PINR SNAR PA BR
SUBJECT: PARAGUAY: MONEY WELL SPENT; COPS ARRESTED

Classified By: AMB James C. Cason; Reasons 1.4(b),(d)

1. (U) SUMMARY: The National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD)
seized the largest cocaine transshipmentin Paraguayan history
in Pedro Juan Caballero (PJC), during a joint intelligence
operation between the Brazilian federal police, DEA, and
SENAD. SENAD confiscated 450 kg of cocaine and arrested six
individuals June 18 (three of whom work for the National
Police). The success of the operation was due in large part
to the recently constructed INL and DEA-funded SENAD facility
in PJC. END SUMMARY.

DRUGS,THUGS AND BAD COPS

2. (SBU) SENAD seized 450 kg of cocaine that was en route to
Brazil via land transport for distribution to other
countries. SENAD apprehended six individuals and seized
three vehicles. Lieutenant Nelson Ramon Sanchez Lopez and
Sergeant Benito Ataia Chamorro of the National Police were
arrested along with Edgar Salvador Carballo Ramirez, a
civilian police administrator. All three occupied the escort
vehicle while three others, Jorge Ramon Pena Ferreira, Victor
Hugo Dos Santos Gonzales and Joao Carlos Vidal (a Brazilian
national) manned the two vehicles that transported the drugs.
SENAD also confiscated cash in various currencies (US
dollars, Reales, and Guarani), radios and police firearms.

ACTIONABLE INTEL

3. (C) The success of the operation was due in large part to
the combined efforts of SENAD, DEA, Brazilian federal police,
and the Paraguayan Navy. SENAD Director of Operations Luis
Rojas explained that at the time of the operation an Air
Force helicopter was out of service and the drug traffickers
were aware of that fact. SENAD obtained a second helicopter
(from the Paraguayan Navy) for operational support and
executed a successful mission seizing a cocaine shipment with
an estimated value between USD 1 to 3 million (value varies
depending upon regional market values).

US DOLLARS AT WORK

4. (C) INL program assistance to SENAD that funded the
regional operation facility provided SENAD with the necessary
support to combat transnational drug trafficking in the
narco-capital of PJC. Rojas said the new base "supplied
SENAD with the ability to prepare and execute a successful
covert operation." The base also provided them with a secure
area to inventory and detain both the drugs and the
miscreants involved. SENAD now has improved infrastructure
and air-land capabilities in the surrounding area.

A FEW GOOD MEN

5. (C) The success of the operation ultimately came down to
the hard work, creativity, experience and guts of the agents
involved. In spite of the lack of proper communication
equipment and vehicles, the agents were capable of utilizing
their limited resources to pull off the most successful drug
bust in Paraguay,s history. (NOTE: SENAD borrowed vehicles
and some communications equipment from the Brazilian federal
police. They also relied heavily on personal cellular
telephones to coordinate during the operation. END NOTE.)

COMMENTS

6. (C) The tremendous success of SENAD operations in the past
year (and in this case) is a clear indication that SENAD is
the most effective law enforcement agency in the country.
The SENAD leadership and their operational agents have
demonstrated their focus in dismantling the transnational
criminal organizations that have long operated with impunity
in Paraguay. INL and DEA assistance programs play a huge
role in SENAD's success. We expect our continued close
cooperation with SENAD will contribute to even more
significant results in the future. We are already seeing a
return on our investment in the PJC facility.
CASON

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