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Contraband Grows in Brazil Due to Security Crisis

03/29/2018 - 10h29

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CLAUDIA ROLLI
FROM SÃO PAULO

2017 was a record for the apprehension of contraband goods and merchandise in Brazil: The Federal Revenue Service seized R$ 2.3 billion (US$ 693 million) in unregistered merchandise. This is the largest amount since 2010 and represents an increase of nearly 10% over 2016.

According to industry estimates, losses from parallel (black) market merchandise jumped from R$ 89.3 billion (US$ 26.9 billion) in 2016 to R$ 100.2 billion (US$ 30.2 billion) last year.

The list of confiscated items includes everything from hair to aircraft, insecticides to slot machines, tractor tires to videogame consoles.

At the top of the ranking are cigarettes, with 221 million packs seized. If they were placed end-to-end, the line would stretch for 26.5 kilometers. This is greater than the length of the Chinese wall (21.2 kilometers).

Cigarettes also top the list in value: they represented nearly half (R$ 1.08 billion [US$ 346.5 million]) of the total value of goods apprehended.

The volume of illicit drugs confiscated by fiscal agents and the PRF (Federal Highway Police) also increased by 47.5 tons, 122.4% more than in 2016.

The PRF apprehended 354.3 tons of illicit drugs and arrested more individuals, 38,339 people involved in contraband, an increase of 21% over 2016.

One-third of all contraband collected in the country is concentrated in the Iguaçu Falls (Paraná State) region, where 1,513 Federal Revenue Service apprehension operations were carried out jointly with the Federal and Federal Highway police.

By region, apprehensions are highest in São Paulo (22%), Mato Grosso e Mato Grosso do Sul (20%).

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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