ALONG HIGHWAY 369, Brazil -- Stolen cars, drugs and weapons are among the goods that traditionally have been transported along this highway from Paraguayan border towns to Brazil's southeastern metropolises: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Lately, though, many Brazilian smugglers have gone high-tech. The high cost and small size of items like memory cards and digital cameras means relatively low risk and lucrative returns. For this new breed of smugglers, Paraguay is a treasure trove.

Along One of S. America's Busiest Smuggling Routes, Electronics are the New Contraband

By , , Briefing

ALONG HIGHWAY 369, Brazil -- It was the middle of the night when an officer waved the busload of smugglers off the highway at a checkpoint in Paraná state. A military policeman in a crisp khaki uniform and bullet-proof vest boarded the bus and began shining his flashlight at faces and overhead bins.

Two men were ordered off the bus to unload their cargo from the compartment below. Soon, however, they were back to take a hurried cash collection. After a sufficient number of wallets were opened and relieved of bills, the bus was waved on. ...

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