Report: Amazon tribe may have fallen victim to drug traffickers
Aerial images of the uncontacted tribe in Brazil's Amazon rain forest were released in February.
August 9th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Report: Amazon tribe may have fallen victim to drug traffickers

Suspected Peruvian drug traffickers have destroyed a guard post protecting a recently discovered indigenous tribe in Brazil's Amazon rain forest, the aid group Survival International reports.

Aerial film and still images of the tribe were first shown to the world in February. The Brazilian government's National Indian Foundation established the guard station near the tribe's territory along Brazil's border with Peru to protect the Indians from outsiders.

Survival International said Monday that Brazilian authorities can now find no sign of the tribe.

"We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. ... We are more worried than ever. This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades. It’s a catastrophe," Carlos Travassos, the head of Brazil's isolated Indians department, said in a Survival International statement.

Survival International reports the tribe's lands are near the Envira River, which Peruvian cocaine smugglers reportedly use as a route into Brazil.

Brazilian authorities report groups of men armed with machine guns and rifles are in the nearby forest, according to the aid group.

Authorities had recovered a drug trafficker's rucksack with a broken Indian arrow in it, Survival International reported.

"This is extremely distressing news. There is no knowing how many tribal peoples the drug trade has wiped out in the past, but all possible measures should be taken to stop it happening again. The world’s attention should be on these uncontacted Indians, just as it was at the beginning of this year when they were first captured on film," Survival International Director Stephen Corry said in a statement.

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Filed under: Brazil • World
soundoff (765 Responses)
  1. soundtribe

    the internet is great for agruing

    August 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George Donnelly

    This primitive tribe and/or others like it have/had the freedom to use cannabis, opium and coca. How totally not unexpected that attempts to suppress this freedom should present a threat to them. End prohibition (again). End the war on people (uh, "drugs"). End it now. Then they won't have to run these plants through the jungle in order to evade cops. It'll be legal.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Renata

    \i am brazilian, amazonense,live here and how in the world the press in Brazil is not showing this tragic news? I haven´t heard or seen that anywhere here,only know because I read CNN everyday because I am studyng English. As a brazilian, as amazonense I feel really,really devastated with that.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      From what I understand, the cartels have a tendency to try and control what the local media can and can't report. Local reporters who fear for their lives and the lives of their families might have a tendency to keep quiet about issues that might make the cartels look bad.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcelo

      Hello Renata,
      I saw this news on terra.com.br.

      August 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Justin

    This article smells of cover-up. Drug gangs? Come on. It's all just a little too convenient. More likely the tribe never existed and the whole thing was a hoax OR this is just a cover-up for something else like a crashed alien ship or something. Look at the picture. Sure looks like white people in red and black latex suits to me. I highly doubt the tribe was real to begin with.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Alien

      This article smells of cover-up. Drug gangs? Come on. It's all just a little too convenient. More likely the tribe never existed and the whole thing was a hoax OR this is just a cover-up for something else like a crashed alien ship or something. Look at the picture. Sure looks like white people in red and black latex suits to me. I highly doubt the tribe was real to begin with.

      Are you serious???? You are aware of the fact that ALL of the cocaine in the world is grown in South America right..., right? So instead of it being drug gangs, it's UFOs? You are not clever, or smart, you are part of the problem.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • KM

      Justin, a reality check might be just what you need. I highly recommend you make a personal visit to the area to see what might have happened and give us your report if and when you return.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipdallas

      Justin, you obviously are taking some of the drugs the cartels are pushing. Either that, or you are a horribly insensitive jerk. In either case: Get a real life!

      August 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipdallas

      I just know I am going to kick myself for asking this. But why would anyone wear red and black latex suits in the jungle? Where is the rest of their equipment, and what are the covering up exactly?

      August 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Rayment

      Ok fellow illuminati, an alien ship we don't want people to know about has crashed in an uncharted region of the amazon where no one would ever look anyway, lets draw everyone's attention there and make up something, just so our cover up department has something to work on... really?

      August 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • gabed53

      / theres definately tribes out there get out ofthe bubble you live in, y lie? why lie and show the drug trade problem and spill it all over the news?

      August 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. r.ortiz

    i do not doubt the existence of this tribe, because there are parts of the amazon that the outside world has not explored yet these people should be left alone, to live their lives.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jessica

    I watched a special about this tribe a few months back. It was fascinating. What a terrible loss if it is in fact true that this untainted tribe is now gone. What a shame.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rachel

    If countries like the US and Canada would decriminalize and control narcotics, as with other legal drugs, the profits within the drug trade would shoot down and people would not be tempted nor driven to do abysmal things like this. This is not a drug problem, it is a drug policy problem. Sociological and psychological evidence, contemporary situations in Europe and America's history with the alcohol prohibition prove this time and time again. So long as drugs are criminalized, people will continue to kill and die for them.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • justme

      I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!

      August 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipdallas

      Rachel, your reply was well thought out, and I agree. Today we still have problems with alcohol dependency, but there are programs that take care of this(hopefully). When booze was banned, we had the same problems then as we have today with drugs.Cartels, skyrocketing crime, and now it seems genocide.Legalize the drugs, the profit margin will plummet along with the associated crime.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I agree the way drug policy is carried out is harmful...the focus shouldn't be on criminalization, but education, prevention of use and help for those who do use drugs, especially w/ pot which fuels the violence in Mexico and isn't that harmful a drug for people to use...However, cocaine I think is a bit problematic drug to deal with because it is very addictive and cause people behave poorly, violently, etc. and is bad for health, but yet isn't so bad at being addictive and harmful as like heroin or meth, that people who are educated in it's effects would necessarily be deterred from doing it and so I don't think it is a drug that should be made legal...With something like pot decriminalizing would reduce violence because anyone can grow it anywhere and so drug cartels would no longer make money off of pot, because the only reason why they make money off of it is because others are afraid to grow it and so they control the supply. However, cocoa is only grown in South America and so whether it's legal are not those who grow it can control the supply and will compete to do so. If it's illegal that means they'll do so in a violent criminal manner. If it were legal, that violence you might be better able to control and bring to justice, but it might still exist and you'd have perhaps a bigger problem of more violence and crime from users. I don't think there is any easy answer to drug policy.

      ...I think a better solution to reducing such crime, violence, drug use, and drug selling is to realize that a driving force behind those things is poverty. The reason people sell drugs, and get involved in crime and violence is largely due to lack of opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life by other means. There is no easy way of dealing with drugs, but I believe reducing poverty is something that we can make steady progress towards which will reduce crime, violence, and the drug trade. Crime and violence is larger a symptom of the larger problem of poverty and economic disparity and that's what we should be focused on fixing more than anything else.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. barbara

    Guess the guard station was doing such a hot job.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. barbara

    Anyone in the US who takes drugs.... you just helped murder this tribe!

    August 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhino

      B.S. Anyone who continues to perpetuate the "drugs are bad" stereotype and pressure politicians to maintain the same stance just killed this tribe. If drugs were decriminalized and regulated, there would be no cartels.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. siyajkak

    the sheer horrors that are committed in the name of money and a quick high are astounding. I hope every one of those responsible suffers from their dealing in such a heinous trade.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • somuchfor

      true but don't think it's a new phenomena - this is the history of our race

      August 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Orville

    Well, I guess one option is to just cut down all the trees....

    August 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. huh?

    The tribe would be better off if they had mobile phones to text all the tribe members when there was trouble nearby. They could even train someone to be the tribal Internet Shaman. He'd be the webmaster but also the overall Tribal IT expert. Maybe they could sell merchandise online and all buy Lexus SUVs. That would be real progress.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ~(_8(/) Doh!

    Discovered, tagged, categorized, & now belongs to some governments. Maybe they were 3rd generation natives with ancestors from civilization that wants to get away from it 80 years ago.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. vedicindian

    "Indians"? Really? It is a shame that the native people of the land are still not recognized as native Americans by popular culture. For heavens sake, it was their land and they are the real Americans!!!

    August 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Covarprice

    indigenous tribe in Brazil's Amazon rain forest vanishes

    Better they wiped out a few tribes on Wall St

    August 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
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