- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

SAO PAULO, Brazil The Congress is accusing judges, lawmakers, Paraguayan Gen. Lino Oviedo and 826 other persons of drug trafficking and involvement in organized crime.
After a 20-month investigation, the Parliamentary Commission for Investigations (CPI), a branch of Brazil's Congress, concluded that federal and state representatives, six judges, ex-governors, mayors, military and civilian police officers, and businessmen from 17 of Brazil's 26 states were part of crime organizations.
All are accused of being involved in homicides, money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and perjury.
One of the investigation's surprising revelations is the suspected involvement of Gen. Oviedo, who is accused of participation in international drug trafficking, illegal arms trade and money laundering. Gen. Oviedo is in custody in Brazil awaiting extradition to Paraguay, where he is wanted for the March 1999 assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argana.
Other international suspects being investigated are Suriname's former President Desi Bourtese and his son Dino, who is a diplomat in Brazil's capital, Brasilia.
The CPI also accused Bolivian Col. Raul Mendes of leading the armed branch of a crime organization headed by former Brazilian Rep. Hildebrando Pascoal, who is in jail for participating in organized crime in the state of Acre.
Directors of six financial institutions and telephone companies were accused of not collaborating with investigators and refusing to disclose the passwords to bank accounts of suspected criminals.
"CPI's job is to ensure the dismantling of organized crime is initiated," said Rep. Moroni Torgan, author of the final CPI document in which he suggested the creation of a Special Prosecution Commission, much like "Operation Clean Hands" which fought the Italian Mafia in the 1980s.
The CPI revealed that small clandestine airports were run by narco-traffickers throughout the state of Sao Paulo. It said Sao Paulo was the main route for support, distribution and consumption of drugs in the country.
"For whatever part of the country or the world, the trafficker has highways, airports and seaports," the CPI said.
The report said cocaine is purchased in Bolivia and Colombia at prices ranging from %250 to %400 per pound and sold back in Sao Paulo at %1,600 per pound.
The drug money was being reinvested in automobile companies, real estate and other legitimate businesses, the report said.

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