Organized Crime Sets its Sights on Peaceful Uruguay

Organized Crime Sets its Sights on Peaceful Uruguay

Uruguay has long been one of the safest countries in Latin America, but some are warning that the influence of organized crime is on the rise, with gang shootouts in the capital and an increase in large-scale cocaine seizures.

Shootout Between Two Gangs of Narcos.” The January 23 story, which describes a 10-minute long gun battle between rival gangs on a city street, would seem more likely to appear in a newspaper in northern Mexico than in Montevideo-based El Pais.

But violent incidents such as this are becoming more common in the South American country, as drug trafficking groups from elsewhere in the region extend their activities there. On January 2, for instance, soccer agent Washington Oscar Risotto was gunned down southern Montevideo, which police said was likely a revenge killing related to the drug trade. According to the US Department of State’s 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), drug trafficking is on the rise in the country, as evidenced by an increase in large-scale cocaine seizures since 2006.

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