Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay, May 24 (EFE).- At least 183 hectares of marijuana, with an estimated production of 600 tons of the drug, have been destroyed in the last eight days in an operation carried out by authorities from Paraguay and Brazil.
The operation, called “New Alliance XXXII,” involves some 100 men from the National Anti-Drug Secretariat and the Brazilian Federal Police.
Local troops are assigned to eradication tasks in a wooded area of the department of Amambay, bordering Brazilian territory, whose Federal Police supports the displacement of their Paraguayan counterparts.
Lt. Col. Aldo Pintos, Paraguayan Special Force commander, said the operation began on May 16 and will end Friday.
Pintos said the cost of marijuana destroyed so far in Paraguay amounts to $ 18 million.
He said its final destination is Brazil, which has more than 212 million inhabitants and takes most of the marijuana production in Paraguay.
In statements to journalists, including EFE, he said between 80 percent and 90 percent of the marijuana grown in Amambay is taken to the neighboring country.
Paraguayan anti-drug teams and federal police members traveled Tuesday to the Maria Auxiliadora neighborhood, a rural community about 50 minutes by land from Pedro Juan Caballero, the capital of Amambay.
Military and police actions have also covered the communities of Cadete Calderón and Alpasa.
They travel to the fields in two helicopters hidden between increasingly deforested mountains to open spaces for marijuana plantations. They destroy the crops with machetes, in daily shifts of about six hours.
Two camps were incinerated Tuesday, one of them with the capacity to house at least 10 people. Authorities have already destroyed 86 buildings of this type.
The tents were built with a plastic roof that protected some wooden beds. In its surroundings there was a small stove, artisanal equipment for processing the leaves and even abandoned provisions.
Pintos said occupants could have escaped or fled alerted by the sound of helicopters.
“Our job itself is to eradicate all illicit cultivation and burn all the belongings we can find in the area and, if the situation arises, apprehend the perpetrators,” the soldier said.
Authorities’ figures show 1,022 hectares of marijuana crops have been destroyed throughout the country since January, as well as more than 362 tons of the drug.
Some 2,249 kilograms of cocaine have also been seized, with an estimated value of $ 15.7 million, according to authorities’ statistics. EFE