Drug traffickers from Brazil are using Uruguay, in particular its capital city and main port of Montevideo, as a transit point for international drug trafficking operations, increasing the odds that Uruguay's internal drug market could grow larger and fuel the rise of local crime groups.
Three years after Uruguay became the first South American country to create a legal market for marijuana, seven out of every ten cannabis consumers still acquire the product on the black market. The delays in the implementation of the legalization law have left the door open for drug trafficking, and it appears that the illegal marijuana trade will remain a lucrative business for at least the near future.
An increase in marijuana seizures in Uruguay raises questions about whether criminal groups are taking advantage of delays to the implementation of the country’s landmark 2013 legalization law to establish a firm market share.
A report has mapped how marijuana is trafficked through Paraguay and Argentina via thousands of kilometers of river, providing an insight into a less popular but high-capacity smuggling method.