Viewing cable 08MONTEVIDEO103
Title: MAJOR DRUG SEIZURE NETS INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKERS AND 142

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08MONTEVIDEO1032008-02-28 15:48:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Montevideo
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMN #0103 0591548
ZNY EEEEE ZZH (CCY AD651F48 MSI9951-695)
O 281548Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7984
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNMER/MESUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0338
UNCLAS MONTEVIDEO 000103 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION AND CLASSIFICATION 
 
STATE FOR INL/LP JHIDES 
 
MESUR COLLECTIVE FOR DEA 
MEXICO CITY FOR DEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM UY MX BL BR PA XM XR
 
SUBJECT: MAJOR DRUG SEIZURE NETS INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKERS AND 142 
KILOS OF COCAINE; URUGUAY AS TRANSIT POINT 
 
REF: BUENOS AIRES 00227 
 
SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU/NF) SUMMARY:  The Uruguayan National Police arrested 11 
alleged drug traffickers and seized 142 kilos of cocaine in the 
third significant bust since 2006.  The plane used to transport the 
cocaine was also seized.  DEA Buenos Aires-Southern Cone was 
actively involved in the investigation and operation, dubbed Razor 
Wire.  While this highlights the growing effectiveness of the 
Uruguayan drug police, it also demonstrates that Uruguay is becoming 
a major transit point for drug smuggling.  We believe the fact that 
a known Mexican drug cartel was involved suggests that these drugs 
may have been intended for the U.S. market.  This investigation 
remains ongoing in Uruguay.  Further law enforcement action is also 
anticipated in Bolivia.  END SUMMARY. 
 
OPERATION RAZOR WIRE 
-------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU/NF) On February 21-22 the Uruguayan National Police arrested 
Ismail Ruiz-Casillas (a Mexican national) and ten other individuals 
and seized 142 kilograms of cocaine following a year-long 
investigation into the drug trafficking activities of the Ismail 
Ruiz-Casillas organization.  Uruguayan and Bolivian police monitored 
the group's cell phones and investigations by DEA offices in the 
Southern Cone, Miami FD, SOD and DEA Mexico (and corresponding 
counterparts) indicated that up to 400 kilograms of cocaine would be 
smuggled into Uruguay on February 21.  Uruguayan police surveilled 
the arrival of the plane at a clandestine field in the Northern part 
of Uruguay.  Surveillance continued as the alleged traffickers drove 
the cocaine south to the seaport of Montevideo, where the seizure 
and arrests were made. 
 
¶3. (SBU/NF) Uruguayan police also seized and searched the airplane, 
yielding GPS coordinates of the flight path showing that the plane 
had flown a Bolivia-Brazil-Paraguay route before landing in Uruguay. 
 The coordinates were passed to the Santa Cruz police and DEA Santa 
Cruz. 
 
¶4. (SBU/NF) So far, 11 arrests have been made: five Mexican 
nationals, two Bolivian pilots, one Uruguayan and three others whose 
nationality remains undetermined.  Bolivia and Uruguay continue to 
conduct further investigations related to this seizure. 
 
NOTABLE RECENT SEIZURES 
----------------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU/NF) This marks the third significant load of cocaine seized 
in Uruguay in cooperation with the DEA Buenos Aires-Southern Cone 
Operations since September 2006: 
 
September 2006: Operation Platinum Fist-ZA-06-0016. Approximately 
400 kilos seized in Uruguay in cooperation with DEA Brazil. 
 
August 2007: Operation San Francisco-ZA-07-0025. Approximately 483 
kilos seized in Uruguay in cooperation with DEA Brazil. 
 
February 2008: Operation Razor Wire-ZA-07-0052 (ongoing). 142 kilos 
seized to date in Uruguay in cooperation with DEA Bolivia. 
 
COMMENT 
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¶6. (SBU/NF) COMMENT:  Operation Razor Wire demonstrates the 
impressive work of the Uruguayan Directorate General for the 
Repression of the Illicit Drug Trafficking (DGRTID), and its chief 
Julio Guarteche.  The quantity of cocaine seized was substantial, 
but the successful arrest of known international drug traffickers 
was more important by far.  This and the two previous operations 
indicate that Uruguay is increasingly becoming a major transit point 
for international drug trafficking. DEA believes this latest 
shipment may have been destined for North America, possibly a 
reaction by the Mexican cartel to interdiction pressure along its 
traditional routes into the U.S.  Post will continue to seek 
additional resources and training to support the key role of DGRTID 
in this fight. 
 
BAXTER