1. Paraguay $13 Billion

  2. Black Market Crime in Paraguay

Paraguay Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Paraguay’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

Security service officials state that Paraguay is the largest producer of marijuana in South America. Most of the cannabis that is produced in the country is exported to Brazil.

In 2013, the criminal justice system seized 461 tonnes of marijuana in Paraguay. The amount seized was significantly higher than the 176 tonnes of marijuana seized in 2012.

Cocaine seizures in Paraguay remained stable, as 3.3 tonnes were seized in 2013, compared to 3.1 tonnes in 2012.

(More marijuana statistics.)

Source:  “Paraguay drug seizures up by 39% in 2013,” BBC News, January 1, 2013.

The PCC (First Command of the Capital), a criminal organization in Brazil, makes $60 Million a year through drug trafficking and other racketeering activities.

Based on data collected from various criminal justice programs, a report found that the crime syndicate has over 11,000 members with 6,000 in prison. The leaders of the group operate out of a Sao Paulo prison and conducts its activities in 22 of the 26 states of Brazil. Its operations has also expanded to neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay.

(What is racketeering? Examples from worldwide cases here.)

Source:  AFP, “Brazil’s top prison gang runs $60 million crime trade,” Google News, October 12, 2013.

A foreign tourist working as a drug mule in Paraguay is able to make up to $3,970 per trip smuggling drugs out of the country. A local Paraguayan earns about $200. Security officials in the country stated that drug trafficking gangs prefer to use foreigners who enter the country on tourist visas because they usually have a clean criminal record and can be made to appear wealthy.

(Price of cocaine by country.)

Source: Hugo Barrios, “Paraguay: Tourists serve as mules,” Infosurhoy, July 30, 2013.


An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants from Bolivia and Paraguay and 45,000 from Peru live in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil.

Security officials in Brazil report that many of the illegal immigrants in the country use the services of human smugglers to enter the country and then fall victim to labor traffickers.

Police highlighted a case of 80 laborers from Bangladesh were rescued from forced-labor conditions in Brazil. The 80 migrants paid a human smuggler $10,000 to be smuggled from Bangladesh to Brazil.

(More human smuggling fees and prices.)

Official data from criminal justice programs in Brazil state that around 44,000 people have been rescued from forced labor conditions in Brazil between 1995 and 2013.

Source:  Astrid Prange, “Growth makes Brazil a hub for human trafficking,” Deutsche Welle, June 4, 2013.

According to federal police, up to 70 percent of the illegal drugs and contraband cigarettes that are smuggled into Brazil enter through illegal ports and entries around the Itaipu Dam and the Parana River on the border with Paraguay.

Source: Stephanie Garlow, “Brazil deploys 7,000 troops to combat drug trafficking,” GlobalPost, Que Pasa Blog, September 20, 2011.

5,900 tons of marijuana is produced each year in Paraguay.

Source: Associated Press, “Brazil, Paraguay fight narcos with border security,” Google News, May 3, 2010.

40 tons of cocaine and up to 15 percent of the world’s marijuana supply is smuggled through Paraguay each year.

Source:  Associated Press, “Brazil, Paraguay fight narcos with border security,” Google News, May 3, 2010.

Cigarette smuggling from Paraguay leads to 90 percent of all production, or $1 Billion worth of cigarettes, to be smuggled into the illegal markets of Brazil and Argentina.

Source:  Marina Walker Guevara, Mabel Rehnfeldt, and Marcelo Soares, “Smuggling Made Easy,” Tobacco Underground, Center for Public Integrity, June 28, 2009.

At the start of 2010, Mexico was the largest marijuana producing country in the world, followed by Paraguay.

(See more marijuana facts and statistics.)

Source: Luis Andres Henao, “Latin America rejects old U.S. approach in drugs war,” Reuters, January 29, 2010.

Security analysts in the United States estimate that up to $6 Billion in illicit revenue is laundered each year through the Paraguay city of Ciudad del Este.

The city is part of the Tri-Border area of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

(Additional money laundering statistics.)

Source: Lieutenant Colonel Philip K. Abbott, “Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Area: Myth or Reality?,” The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection, September-October 2004.