Authorities from Brazil and Paraguay have launched Operation Ágata and Operation Basalto in a coordinated manner to tackle cross-border organized crime, it was reported this week.
The combined action took place in the same week that, at Paraguay's initiative, representatives from seven member countries of the Forum for Progress and Integration in South America (Prosul) approved a declaration reaffirming the joint commitment to increase regional initiatives to fight transnational illegalities.
During the opening of the 7th Meeting of Prosur Heads of State and Government and High Authorities Thursday in the city of Luque, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez highlighted the importance of the initiative.
We are doing important work [with Brazil], on the border to eradicate the illicit activities that have been permeating our public bureaucracy for years, Abdo said.
The Paraguayan leader also pointed out that in Paraguay and in several other countries, organized crime had permeated different institutions and activities, from politics to Congress... to business sectors.
Abdo also stressed that organized crime is [the activity] that has gone global most efficiently and therefore the fight against it has to be solidary and cooperative.
He added that in Paraguay we are firmly committed to eradicating the illicit activities that contaminate and destroy the morale of the public bureaucracy.
About 4,000 Brazilian military personnel, as well as staff from other federal, state, and municipal agencies, were deployed on Brazilian territory since July 18. According to the Ministry of Defense, the objective of Joint
Operation Agata West 2022 was to combat smuggling, drug trafficking, illegal mining, and environmental crimes, especially in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
On the Paraguayan side, Operation Basalto is coordinated by the Internal Defense Operations Command (Codi), a military body that brings together personnel from the Paraguayan Army, Navy, and Air Force and which usually supports the actions of the country's National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Senad).
The Paraguayan initiative also includes the participation of personnel from the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police, and the Inter-institutional Anti-Smuggling Unit.