Paraguay Drug Killings Escalate

A series of drug-related killings began in the Paraguayan border town of Ponta Pora on March 14. Ronny Pavão, brother of Paraguayan drug kingpin Jarvis Chimenes Pavão, was the first to be killed in a hit-and-run attack on the Brazilian side of the border. Jarvis Pavão, viewed as the crime boss of the border region, is currently being held in a specialized prison by Paraguayan National Police but still retains significant power in the area. Jarvis Pavão displayed a show of strength through the revenge-killing of Américo Ramírez Cháves, believed to be one of his brother’s murderers.

The series of murders was prompted by Jarvis Pavão’s impending release from prison this year following the end of his sentence for money laundering. More murders are possible as the two leaders struggle over the border, which could throw the region into chaos.

Belo is believed to have started the current conflict in response to the assassination of gang-leader Jorge Rafaat Toumani, under whom he previously worked as chief of security, in June 2016. Jarvis Pavão denies any involvement in the assassination, but Brazilian police believe that he gave the order for the hit.

Colonel Hugo Vera, in his capacity as the minister of the Paraguayan Senate, claimed that the murder was part of a gang-confrontation and that the civilian population will likely suffer. These murders aren’t the first sign of a war between narcotraffickers on the border; the murder of a police officer and local mayor in eastern Paraguay heightened tensions in August 2016.

Regardless of which drug trafficker emerges from the conflict victorious, it is clear that the rise in crime and murder will only end poorly for the people who live along the border between Brazil and Paraguay.