Los Angeles, Wednesday March 15th 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Brazilian police authorities seized 40 million in Venezuelan bolivars, the equivalent of USD $14,400 at the parallel market rate, Monday in a Rio de Janeiro favela. According to official reports, the neighborhood is in the hand of drug traffickers and the currency was found in a vehicle belonging to a local drug trafficker.
Brazilian authorities received an anonymous tip which spurred the investigation. Authorities engaged in a shoot-out with the drug trafficking ring before confiscating the sizeable amount of foreign currency. Reports say no one was injured during the shooting.
Police transferred the bills to a local station where an investigation is currently underway to identify their source.
In recent months, Caracas has repeatedly national and international “financial mafias” of hoarding and speculating on Venezuelan currency.
The latest seizure comes after 30 tons of Venezuelan currency were impounded during a raid on a private home in Salto de Guaira, Paraguay in February, located approximately 370 kilometers from the capital of Asunción along the border with Brazil. Homeowner Leandro Da Costa was the only person arrested to date according to reports.
Venezuela has implemented drastic measures in recent months including the removal of the 100 bolivar notes from circulation. The move was criticized as it came days before the December holidays, disrupting the month’s otherwise booming commerce.
However, greater denominations 500 to 2000 bill notes and new coins started to replace smaller denominations in late December through February, easing difficulties for Venezuelans including the chronic absence of bills at ATMs witnessed in 2016.