The importance of public security policies in the fight against organized crime

It is not news to anyone that the illegal market is an activity that is growing more and more in Brazil. The criminal operations of militias and factions, with actions in smuggling, money laundering and the entry of weapons, drugs and various other illegal products, unfortunately, find their articulation axes not only in our country, but throughout the world and must be fought with commitment by the security forces.

As a direct result of this equation, we have the worrying repetition of episodes of extreme violence, with deaths ordered by militias and criminal factions, whether of traders who refuse to sell illegal products or public security authorities, as in the case of the execution of the prosecutor Paraguayan Marcelo Pecci – who investigated cases of drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering and terrorist financing in the Triple Border region, between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Also of concern is the constant evolution in the number of weapons, drugs and illicit products, such as cigarettes and pesticides, in circulation in the country. The ease with which criminal activity feeds back, with money laundering and corruption schemes, is impressive, moving billions of reais and, of course, without paying any taxes. This resourcefulness of crime affects the entire process of social inclusion. The co-option of minors for criminal practices on the borders, as well as in the communities of our cities, is extremely serious. The future of these young people is compromised by this flagrant enticement by militias and criminal organizations.

For facts like these, updating and constant investment in combat actions conducted by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, in partnership with the Federal Revenue Service and other security bodies, are extremely important. By the way, partnership and integration are key words, since the exchange of intelligence information between the forces of repression, whether at the municipal, state or federal level, is essential to undermine the power of criminals.

These combat fronts are responsible, every year, for the apprehension of tons of drugs, smuggled products, as well as boats, firearms and thousands of suspects involved, avoiding billionaire losses to the Nation's public coffers. To get an idea, in the last seven years there has been a 200% increase in damage caused by the illegal market to Brazil, from R$ 100 billion (2014) to R$ 300 billion (2021), according to a survey by the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP).

The success of the integrated security operations underscores the importance, for the State and for the entire Brazilian society, of carrying out these actions by the public security authorities of the new government, in a collective effort to contain crime, since the challenges faced are immense. for special police operations to fight crime in a country of continental dimensions, with more than 16 km of land borders and borders with ten countries.

It is important that all Brazilians have the exact dimension of how these problems affect society, whether in the safety of citizens, in tax evasion that bleeds public coffers and in the problems generated in companies that operate within the legality and pay their taxes correctly to the purse.

In addition to the dry borders, as land borders are called, the presence of operations on the sea coasts is essential, as we have had an increase in the arrival of illegal products from Asia and the Middle East in ports located especially in the Northeast. It is a front that must always be strengthened with inspection actions, as it represents a continuous threat.

The public security authorities in Brazil, by keeping their focus and attention on the fight against organized crime, continuously investing in our continental borders in security and social outreach programs, will respond to an outcry from all Brazilians.


What really works to defeat smuggling? Discover seven actions

On Brazilian borders, organized crime is winning. It maintains vast networks of collaborators, organized and well-armed, to transport weapons and drugs to cigarettes and pesticides into the country. The profits obtained from the sales of clothing, perfumes and electronics help to finance, including the payment of tuition fees. Meanwhile, law enforcement is grappling with budget contingencies.

“Corruption is an economic problem, but also a social one, and is present due to working conditions, insecurity, lack of infrastructure, as well as misconduct by the corrupt agent”, says lawyer José Vicente Santos de Mendonça, professor of Law at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, where he coordinates the Economic Regulation Laboratory.

How to fight this vicious circle? Check out seven measures capable of reducing the force of smuggling and embezzlement. They work best if taken together, in order to tackle crime simultaneously on several fronts.

1. Bet on technology

Satellites, sensors and radars are capable of identifying stolen vehicles used to transport contraband on the roads. Unmanned planes can attack aircraft and vessels used by criminals. Biometric reading at border posts reduces the risk of a suspect escaping because he used false documents. “The new technologies for controlling people and goods at borders and airports are an attempt to adapt to the current reality, in which people and goods are highly mobile”, says researcher Pinja Lehtonen, from the University of Tampere, Finland.

“On the other hand”, points out the researcher, “international criminal organizations have a huge amount of money and very intelligent people at their disposal, which indicates that technological solutions would only work until criminals found a way to circumvent them. ”, says she, who is developing her doctoral research on automated border control in the European Union.

In other words, just buying technology is not enough. The human factor, she says, is still very important. "Experienced officers can detect a suspect's nervousness with great ease."

2. Equip law enforcement officers

“The revenue dedicated to the smuggling attack is not enough. In terms of infrastructure, organized crime wins,” says Luciano Barros, president of the Institute for Economic and Social Development of Borders (Idesf). Brazil has less than a thousand Federal Police agents operating along the entire border.

In all of Brazil, only 48 federal employees work in security, against 120 in the United States. The Armed Forces, which carry out frequent actions in the most strategic points of Brazilian borders, had to adapt the strategy after, between 2012 and 2017, the budget for discretionary spending fell by 44%. The focus is now on specific actions. These are large-scale operations that bring together dozens of different government agencies. But, at the end of the action, routine border surveillance is again flawed.

3. Carry out integrated actions

In order to prevent a suspect investigated by the Civil Police, for example, from passing through a Highway Police checkpoint without being arrested, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security is betting on the creation of the National Public Security Information System (Sinesp), a service that would bring together all available information nationwide about ongoing investigations and incident reports. But the system is still in the implementation phase.

4. Attacking corruption

Whether at border posts or camelódromos, criminals often rely on the support of agents who receive bribes to clear the way. “The data proves that the number of deviations and police corruption are significant”, says the study “Police corruption in debate: Diversion and impunity in police institutions in Rio de Janeiro”, authored by Andréa Ana do Nascimento, a researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUC-RS).

The study shows that, between 2009 and 2013, the number of complaints against the actions of the Military Police and the Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro increased, respectively, by 93,6% and 68,5%. Meanwhile, the total number of police officers punished has dropped from 21 in 2010 to 4 in 2013.

5. Act in cities

Criminals cross the border, but the consumer market for smuggled goods is in the biggest cities. This is what Edson Luiz Vismona recalls, president of the Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics (ETCO) and of the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP). “It is essential to tackle illegal sales on the streets across Brazil. This trade in pirated products directly attacks the honest trader, who generates legal employment and pays taxes”.

For Vismona, actions to combat illegal trade, such as those recently carried out in São Paulo on the outskirts of Rua 25 de Março, are capable of attacking an important source of income for criminals. “Each time large loads of contraband are seized, the groups suffer a blow. Collecting these products is an effective way of hampering smugglers' actions, as it attacks their profits”, says Luciano Barros.

6. Reduce taxes

As Brazil reduced taxes on electronics products, the demand for pirated versions of these products decreases. On the other hand, by increasing taxes on cigarettes, the country encouraged consumption of versions from Paraguay. Reducing taxation, or convincing neighboring countries to increase their taxes in order to match them with the values ​​practiced in Brazil, is a way of attacking smuggling, by reducing the size of the consumer market for illegal products.

7. Improve life on the borders

Cities on the borders of Brazil with other countries are characterized by poor indicators of quality of life, education and the generation of formal jobs. Encouraging the entry of legal companies in these regions, capable of increasing income and leading young people to seek to improve their professional training, is an effective way of reducing the cheap labor available to criminal groups operating at the borders.

How contraband corrupts public officials

Professor José Vicente Santos de Mendonça details the crime routine on the triple border in four moments in which public agents are corrupted. Follow:

1st moment: Near the Paraná River ravine and the shores of Lake Itaipu, where the value available is the lowest, and there is a closer cooperation bond. This link is established between the smuggler and the public agent, and the value of corruption is pre-established, and is around R$ 100/day per public agent. In this case, the public agent remains indifferent to the situation, and a positive sum relationship is established, that is, everyone “wins” in the process.

2nd moment: The public agent, after an agreement with the smuggler, monitors the cargo up to the limit of its circumscription, thus preventing the cargo from being apprehended at inspection posts. For this scenario, the value is around R$1.000 to R$1.500.

3rd moment: It happens at the inspection posts, if the vehicle used to transport the cargo is stopped. In this case, there may or may not be a prior agreement, and the value of the transfer is around R$3.000 to R$10.000.

4th moment: The public entity forges the seizure, with the objective of providing the smuggler with the opportunity to negotiate for the release of cargo. In this context, there is the highest amount of corruption, which varies from R$ 15.000 to R$ 50.000, and can reach 50% of the value of the cargo, normally paid with the goods themselves.

By Tiago Cordeiro, especially for the Gazeta do Povo – 06/07/2019

The Brazil We Want

Our work in this area is intense and involves several projects. In partnership with the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP), we coordinate the Movement in Defense of the Legal Market, which brings together 70 entities from business sectors and the government in the fight against smuggling, counterfeiting and adulteration of products, and in the defense of companies' intellectual property.

We believe that legal market defense is an essential condition for the development of Brazil.

Illegal product reaches 57% of the cigarette market

A survey by Ibope Inteligência revealed that the illegal cigarette market continues to gain space in Brazil, driven by the lower price compared to the legal product. The consequence is an increase in consumption and a reduction in tax collection. The study also showed that illegal brands already occupy five of the top ten positions in the best-selling ranking, including leadership. Smuggling from Paraguay is the main source of the product sold illegally in the Brazilian market.

The quantitative survey, of national scope, was carried out with smokers aged 18 to 64 years living in municipalities with more than 20 thousand inhabitants, of all social classes, totaling 8.428 people, from January to April this year. According to the study, in the last year, 110,7 billion cigarettes were consumed in the country, an increase of 3% in relation to 2018. This number reflects the advance of the illegal product, which grew so much in absolute numbers (from 57,8, 63,4 billion to 54 billion units) and market share (from 57% to 49%). The illegal market consists of smuggling (8%) and cigarettes made in Brazil in a clandestine manner (48,4%). In the same period, consumption of legal cigarettes fell from 47,3 billion to XNUMX billion units.

Ibope conducts this survey annually since 2014. In the first edition, the illicit product held 40% of the market, an index that has been growing every year. Based on the trend curve verified in the historical series, the institute estimates that, if no concrete measures are taken to change this situation, illegal cigarettes will reach 62% of the market in 2020.

In addition to not undergoing health surveillance, exposing smokers to unknown risks, the smuggled product causes enormous damage to public coffers. Calculation based on the Ibope survey shows that, this year, tax evasion will reach R $ 12,2 billion, above the sector's tax collection, estimated at R $ 11,8 billion. In order to have an idea of ​​what this value represents, it would be possible to create 21 thousand Basic Health Units, 5,9 thousand Emergency Units or 8,6 thousand daycare centers.

The study also follows the evolution of the price of illegal cigarettes, which costs, on average, R $ 3,44, which represents less than half the value of legal cigarettes. The reason lies in the difference between the tax burden of cigarettes in Paraguay, 18%, and in Brazil, 71%, on average. In addition, contraband violates the minimum price required by Brazilian law, of R $ 5 per pack.

With these illicit advantages, Paraguayan brands continue to increase their participation in the national market. This is the case of Eight, the most sold in Brazil, which today dominates 16% of consumption. A year ago, it had 15%. Both this and the Gift brands (3rd in the ranking) and San Marino (6th) are manufactured by Tabacalera del Este, which belongs to the former president of Paraguay Horacio Cartes. The list of smuggled products also includes Classic (8th) and Fox (9th). Together, these five brands account for 37% of the Brazilian market. The five best positioned Brazilians hold 31%.

The current president of Paraguay, Mario Adbo Benítez, who replaced Cartes in August 2018, tried this year to raise the product tax to 40%, but was defeated in the Senate by 28 votes to 13. ETCO's executive president, Edson Vismona, regretted the decision. “Paraguay acts in a conflicting way when it comes to combating cigarette smuggling. On the one hand, the government of President Benítez indicates that it may come to ratify the Protocol for the Elimination of the Illicit Trade in Tobacco, an important instrument for combating cigarette smuggling worldwide. But, on the other hand, the parliament refuses to adopt one of the main premises of the document, the increase in taxes on the product ”, he said.



ETCO creates project to raise awareness and engage Brazilians against illegal acts


Brazil lost R $ 193 billion to the illegal market only in 2018. In this account, in addition to smuggled products, there are also various forms of corruption, counterfeiting and other deviations. We cannot allow our country to be taken over by illegality. So we created the project #In the law, to raise awareness and engage Brazilians in the fight against any illegal act. Understand better in our manifest published in the newspaper Gazeta do Povo.

ALAC Coordinates efforts in favor of legality


Edson Vismona, president of ETCO and pro-tempore president of the Latin American Anti-Smuggling Alliance (ALAC), said today (7/05), that the organization that directs and integrates business chambers and government representatives, seeks to increase the increase in participation and commitment Latin American countries in the fight against smuggling.

During the V ALAC Meeting, which takes place between 7 and 8/05 in Costa Rica, Vismona, also said that “we are increasing the awareness of people and governments about the importance of cooperation and integration between countries to fight crime organized, which uses contraband resources for other illicit activities, clearly threatening public security ”.

According to data released during the ALAC, smuggling moves resources equivalent to 2% of Latin America's GDP, or about US $ 210,000 billion annually, affecting industries such as steel (metal-mechanics and steel), tobacco, hot drinks, medicines, cosmetics, plastics, footwear, textiles and cybersecurity.

This crime provides products smuggled to the markets, without regulations or controls, harming not only consumers but also governments.

According to Vismona, Central America must intensify joint efforts to eradicate smuggling, as Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina do.

"We hope to succeed in Central America in expanding integration between governments," he concluded.

Maria Carolina Uribe, president of the National Association of Industry of Colombia (ANDI), one of the co-organizers of the meeting, responsible for structuring a regional agenda to combat smuggling:

“Here in Costa Rica, we intend to unite the entire region around the problem of smuggling, working around the fundamental elements of illicit trade to combat it. When we started ALAC our focus was on the customs issue, then we moved to a judicialization and dismantling of criminal structures approach, “said Uribe.

In recent years, ALAC has worked on building a regional public-private agenda and sharing good practices.

The most smuggled product in the region is cigarettes, according to data from the organization.

The most recent study of illicit cigarette trade launched in 2017 by the Observatory on Illicit Trade of the National Chamber of Commerce and British American Tobacco Chile, shows the consumption rates of this illegal product and its main consequences, among them the exponential growth of “preference ”By the illegal product among consumers and a consequent loss due to tax evasion that reaches US $ 500 million per year.

In Argentina, contraband cigarettes generated, in 2017, an estimated loss of approximately 8.500 billion pesos in tax collection.