Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay – Cowboy hats and flasks adorned with imitation jaguar and snakeskin prints dot the market of the Paraguayan border town of Pedro Juan Caballero.
Cross the two-lane avenue outside and one will have entered Brazil.
Not far away, one will find casinos, motels and brothels typical of a crime-ridden frontier.
The town is on a key trafficking route into Brazil, with two major gangs – the First Command of the Capital (PCC) from Sao Paulo and the Red Command (CV) from Rio de Janeiro – competing to import Bolivian cocaine, firearms and other contraband.
In June 2016, a ceasefire between the factions came to an end when lead gangster Jorge Rafaat, allied with the CV and known as the “king of the frontier” was executed in his armoured Hummer. His death has been attributed to the PCC.
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