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Brazilian Drug Story Continues

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Brazilian Drug Story Continues

Photo: Ed Gregory.

The father of the 20-year-old Icelandic woman arrested in Brazil on December 26, suspected of drug smuggling, says she is a victim and that she has denied charges, RÚV reports. He states that police reports show no record of her ever having mentioned by name any drug smuggler in the area.

The father’s statement comes in response to assertions by a veteran Paraguayan journalist at ABC, Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, who told RÚV that the couple mentioned an Icelander, whose whereabouts have been unknown for two years, as being one of the major drug smugglers in the area. The woman’s father believes this assertion puts his daughter’s life in great danger.

The woman was recently arrested, along with a 26-year-old Icelander, in Fortaleza, Brazil, allegedly in possession of several kilos of cocaine they are suspected of having intended to smuggle out of the country. Her father asserts his daughter is now in a women’s prison after spending 10 days in isolation at a police station.

According to the Paraguayan journalist, an Icelander serving a 22-year sentence in Brazil is directing drug smuggling from inside prison. That Icelander was sentenced, he said, for smuggling 47,000 ecstasy pills.

Corruption is rampant in Brazilian prisons, Ruíz states. “He who serves a sentence in a Brazilian prison and has money can have a five-star office in prison.” He says the imprisoned Icelander has internet access and conducts drug business from prison, using the Icelandic ring leader as his right hand.

Ruiz further explained that the smugglers mostly use young people as mules. He has worked for ABC for about 25 years, has received numerous death threats in his career and has the 24-hour protection of seven police officers. He lives in a town close to the Brazilian border, where drug smuggling is extensive. He has had police protection for 20 years and has 16 surveillance cameras around his house. Several attempts have been made on his life. Last fall, he was awarded the CPJ International Press Freedom Award.

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