The integrated actions of federal and state security agencies in border areas that have joined an initiative called Programa Vigia are reported to have brought losses adding up to $148.5 million to criminals, and prevented public coffers from losing approximately $50 million, slashing tax evasion, money laundering, and smuggling.
The estimate was calculated by the Integrated Operations Secretariat (SEOPI) of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and took into account the increase in the amount of drugs, cigarettes, guns and smuggled goods seized since the government created the National Frontier Security Program, also referred to as Vigia, which is turning one year old Wednesday (Apr. 15). Since its creation, 50 million packet of cigarettes have been arrested, as well as some 130 tons of drugs, 138 vessels, and 1,350 vehicles.
According to SEOPI Coordinator-General for Frontiers Eduardo Bettini, the program has showed “expressive results” in coping with organized crime as well as preventing and repressing border crimes, like gun and drug trafficking and smuggling. It is also said to ensure investment to train all police bodies working on borders and the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for state use.
According to the coordinator, Vigia is now part of 11 Brazilian border states: Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, and Rondônia. On Tuesday (14), the Roraima government had to sign a cooperation term joining the program. SEOP expects that Amapá, Pará, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina follow suit.
“This leads to an increase in states’ resilience, the efforts to share resources and investment in [public security] institutions, be it with equipment or funds to afford operations,” Bettini said, noting that the federal government has invested some $7.7 million in Vigia. Of this total, at least $2.5 million stems from the auction of the goods confiscated from drug dealers. The remaining amount comes from the National Public Security Fund.
Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, SEOPI finalized the emergency acquisition of personal protection equipment, to be distributed in the coming days to some 1,700 security professionals in the program, including agents from the Armed Forces.
SEOPI also intends to include non-border states. As it stands today, Tocantins and Goiás have been made part of the initiative due to their location. “The two states are key. Most of the smuggling, the drugs, and the ammunition coming from other countries have to go through these corridors,” the coordinator said.
In exchange for the federal funding, states joining Programa Vigia must pay their own police and affort the expenses arising from the structure required for the operations in their territory.
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