Brazil fighting its own border war, says security expert

Jim Kouri by Jim Kouri on August 10th, 2012

This is article 45 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Brazil began reinforcing its southern borders with about 9,000 more military troops as the fifth part of its war on criminal gangs, according to a U.S. security official who monitors South American organized crime.

The security source told the Law Enforcement Examiner that the border reinforcements are part of Operation Agatha 5, which the Brazilian government initiated on July 6 on their country’s borders with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The deployment of troops is aimed at actively assisting Brazil’s border security officers who are outgunned and out-manned by the crime groups that include drug cartels, the source said.

Also involved in what’s expected to be a month-long operation are the Brazilian Air Force and Navy, who will use attack helicopters, jet fighters, patrol boats and high-tech equipment, he added.

Agatha 5’s ultimate goal is to significantly reduce criminal activity such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and illegal mining, according to Defense Minister Celso Amorim, who visited southern Brazil Wednesday to inspect the operation in person, according to the Brazilian news media.

Amorim said Brazil’s neighbors were informed of the operation in advance and invited to send observers, the news report said.

Brazilian authorities claim they’ve seized close to 3 tons of illicit drugs, along with 300 boats used by traffickers. They also claim to have confiscated 60 firearms and other weapons.

“Unlike the United States government, who send troops to its troubled borders to answer phones and shuffle paper, the Brazilian troops are taking an active role in protecting their nation’s borders and combating those who violate their laws,” said Police Lieutenant Thomas Spandell, a narcotic enforcement expert.

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