Author Topic: Follow-up with Senior Justic on drug and weapons trafficking  (Read 2090 times)

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Offline jujyjuji

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Date:2008 February 20, 14:11 (Wednesday)
Canonical ID:08SAOPAULO77_a

Classified By: Consul General Thomas White; reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C/NF) Sao Paulo State Court of Appeals Criminal Division Justice, Jose Amado de Faria Souza, told Consul General (CG) that while his concerns expressed reftel regarding the possible transportation of heavy weapons across the Tri-Border Area (TBA) and from Colombia into Brazil were based on cases he reviewed 10-15 years ago, he believes that Brazil's law enforcement community and judiciary are not sufficiently focused on the possible connections between organized crime and terrorism today. Justice Souza claimed that the federal government does not want to accept warnings from the Federal Police about such possible connections. He offered to continue providing information regarding these issues to the Consulate.

End Summary.

2. (C/NF) Consul General met with Sao Paulo State Court of Appeals Criminal Division Justice Jose Amado de Faria Souza on January 22, in part to follow up on his December 2007 conversation with Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg West (reftel). Justice Souza has just returned to the Criminal Division after a decade-long absence, and is interested in rekindling a relationship with the Consulate and with the U.S. law enforcement community. Recalling his experience as an International Visitor (IV) in 1992, Souza asked us to help him find contact information for incumbents in the positions with whom he met during his IV trip, particularly in DOJ and State/INL (Note: Since his meeting with the CG, we have provided him with this information. End Note.) Souza said that in the late 1980s and early 1990s he occasionally shared information with ConGen Sao Paulo in cases where the Consulate was concerned that suspected criminals might be planning travel to the United States. According to Justice Souza, the Consulate would pass the name of suspected individuals to him to check on whether or not the individual had any criminal history. Justice Souza stated this also was useful for the courts in monitoring individuals who might be involved in transnational crime. He described this as an "informal" arrangement, as there might be resistance from some political quarters to any formal understanding.

3. (C/NF) Questioned about his assertion to visiting Assistant U.S. Attorney West in December that heavy weapons had been transported across the Tri-Border Area (TBA) and from Colombia into Brazil, Justice Souza clarified that his assessment is based on cases he reviewed 10-15 years ago, before he transferred out of the Criminal Division in the 1990s. He related an environment during that period - without detailing specific cases - where cross-border drug traffickers, principally along the Colombian border, but also along the Bolivian border and the TBA, often were trading weapons as part of the drug trafficking system. He indicated that weapons were being acquired by organized crime groups in Brazil, but also was concerned that such traffic could also be used by groups in areas like the TBA that had links to the Middle East and North Africa.

4. (C/NF) Justice Souza repeated concerns expressed to Assistant U.S. Attorney West that senior Brazilian law enforcement and justice officials are not sufficiently concerned about possible connections between organized crime and terrorism. He cited a close Federal Police contact who has worked in the TBA, who claims that Brasilia -- presumably referring to political-level officialdom -- is deaf to Federal Police efforts to pass on information about such possible connections. SAO PAULO 00000077 002 OF 002

5. (C/NF) Comment: Justice Souza's clarifications on arms movements are somewhat reassuring, given the alarming nature of some of his comments reported in reftel. He made clear that his December comments referred to events some 10-15 years ago, and referred to drug traffickers, rather than terrorist groups. Nonetheless, he is concerned that the drugs and arms connection could be extended to terrorist sympathizers, in an environment where GOB control of borders is weak, and where federal officials remain skeptical or disinterested in possible organized crime connections with Middle East-connected groups. End Comment.

6. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia Law Enforcement Working Group. WHITE

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