Updated: Oct 28, 2018
Security services announced the detention of 5 Brazilian nationals and one Paraguayan national in Asuncion belonging to “Comando Vermelho” (Red Comandos), Brazil’s largest criminal organization. The arrestees were allegedly planning to extract one of the leaders of the group, locally known as “Marcelo Piloto”, from a prison in the neighborhood of Roberto L. Petit. Criminals were allegedly planning a frontal assault. Security services seizes at least 15 handguns and 7 assault rifles.
The Comando Vermelho is known to operate extensively throughout the country, taking advantage of deficient border controls between Paraguay and Brazil to traffick illicit substances and funds. The group is heavy armed, and is suspected of being involved in a major raid against a private security firm in the border city of Ciudad del Este in April 2017. At least 30 armed assailants armed with military equipment blasted their way into a vault and escaped with nearly 50 million USD, crossing afterwards to Brazil. While the recent foiled attack underscores cooperation potential between Brazilian and Paraguayan security services, organized crime is poised to remain one of the largest security threats in Paraguay.