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. JakeF

    This picture has already been proven a fake. Nice investigative journalism CNN.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      You took the words right out of my mouth! This was a huge story a few years ago and then was made known to be a hoax! Unless they are unknowingly recycling the wrong picture? Either way, WOW!!!

      August 9, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • ionymous

      The hoax wasn't the existence of these people, but the "uncontacted" descriptor used on them. The photo is still a real photo. They're still a protected tribe just as CNN is reporting.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Joeymom

      The picture I am seeing in the article is not one of the fake ones. I have three people in teh woods with a good deal of red paint on them. Which one are you seeing?

      August 9, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • me

      "The picture I am seeing in the article is not one of the fake ones. I have three people in teh woods with a good deal of red paint on them. Which one are you seeing?" The one with the girl in the bikini sitting on the rhino. Hmmm. Must be a browser problem.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • jmset3

      Do some investigating yourself. The picture is real. Look it up. The only thing that was ever disputed was how long this tribe was known to exist.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    I am slightly torn about these uncontacted tribes.
    On one hand, we should allow them to live without our problems.
    But on the other, they are missing out on all our society has to over. I am not just talking about reruns of "2 1/2 Men", but medical treatments that could help their kids.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony Baloney

      Don't forget the inept OB ama antics, the miserable housing market, the jobs so many have lost, the ever-losing stock market, the government triffling, the wars with every country in the world...heck...I'm jealous of those redmen

      August 9, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      We would be more likely to spread diseases to them that they have no immunity against unfortunately.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • KBilly

      Oh Tony Baloney, you are hilarious.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Marv

      Dave, are you serious?: What makes you assume they are missing out on anything simply because they don't live as we do? That's one major problem with Americans in general-believing everyone needs or should live like us and if they don't they're missing something good.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • me

      "That's one major problem with Americans in general-believing everyone needs or should live like us and if they don't they're missing something good." And the problem with posters is assuming that everyone is American.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      So you're saying that a small tribe, in the middle of a jungle, in South America would be effected by the US job and housing market? Did you bother to even think before you posted that? By the way, President Obama hasn't started a single war since he's been in office, (Libya isn't a war). And last I checked, he actually is implementing a plan for pulling troops out of the other "wars".

      August 9, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      All the replies that go "Leave them alone, they don't want to live like us", I wonder if you think we should send rice to Somalia? Why shouldn't we be hands off with them too?

      August 9, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Dave, there's a big difference between the situation with these tribes and the situation with Somalia. If these tribes remain free of European influence and want to keep it that way, we should respect their decision. However, if they come to you or me starving and ask for help, in the spirit of compassion, we should provide what help we can. The people in Somalia are clearly starving and clearly asking for help. Forcing Western culture on isolated tribes is not an act of compassion; feeding the starving is.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      Who is to say our "advanced" civilization is somehow better than what they have? We are so egocentric not only in America but throughout the "developed" world. Maybe human beings weren't meant to sit at computers, work in cubicles, live in boxes, drive in boxes, spend their lives mostly separated from the natural world by concrete, wood, metal and glass, surrounded by toxins and pollution, engaging in international wars, slowly killing our environment and ourselves. Don't get me wrong, there are positives about our modern society but most of those were inventions to try and balance out the negatives that we created as civilizations grew and society became more modernized. Funny, many of us live and strive to one day, if we are lucky, retire somewhere in a tropical paradise. Maybe these people, uncontacted by us, are already living in that tropical paradise.

      August 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    All this chatter about the paint, most ancient/native cultures use body paint. In America the natives wore paint and even painted their horses.

    This tribe is likely living in habitation that has a native frog, that is red, that has a deadly poison. The animals all know to not mess with the frog, so the tribe paints themselves like the frog to ward off evil.
    Just like tribes that respect the jaguars.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. JakeF

    OK. Edit my last statement. It appears the tribe was considered "uncontacted" but indeed real. Looks like they packed up and left the area due to loggers, etc...

    August 9, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Are you sure? Where did you verify that? Only because I replied on your other post that I, too, recognized the story/picture as the hoax from a few years ago...

      August 9, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Loggers? Is that what they are calling cocaine smugglers these days?

      August 9, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. rgvg

    Whats almost as sad as some1 wiping out one of the last remaining free people on earth is that alot of folks here make a joke of it. These people wouldnt of had a chance.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tyler

    The guy on the right looks like he is painted up like Spider-man.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    Yes OMG, let's leave them alone. Outcry, outcry. 100's of thousands of American Indians were up rooted and pushed out of their native lands as well. Now we just stick em on some land, give em gambling and booze. We'll find some place to put these painted spidermen. And give them a stick to play with.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      considering that the tribe is in danger solely bc americans want to use drugs I'd say giving them some land and a stick to play with is the least you could do. USA loves their drugs and damn the world to get them! It is solely our arrogance of arresting people for drugs that have caused untold destruction to the poor of other countries. Either legalize all drugs, or stand up and take responsiblity for the destruction your drug users cause.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • cowboybob

      Please get a job and leave your parents basement.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. raceland, la

    hey they arent real? i see arms, legs, eyes etc.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chan

    So all the people that were in an uproar over their pictures, info, location etc all over the internet were right (of fear of contamination)...Should let well enough be....@Dave there is nothing to BE torn about; bringing civilized modern man to the heathens is exactly the thinking that lead to 100,000s of deaths. Everywhere from the civilizing of the west, and the conquistadors to Christianity's insistence on saving mankind by putting books in hands and burning down mud huts...and hundreds more such as Aboriginals etc. Did this work out for the Aztecs, Mayans, Indians. and all the others above or not mentioned. Wonder how many the Romans took out.

    @JakeF ..what does that have to do with any of this? The subject and pictures from before are completely legit.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Hector

    This isn't right. This is the last this planet has as a pure and true people of the earth. Maybe there are more and I hope we don't find them. As much as our technology can help, I am sure they are better off with their simple way of life. It's all they know. I couldn't imagine what was going through their minds when they first saw the airplane. Kind of like us witnessing a UFO. Maybe the highly evolved ET's look at us the way we look at the tribes. Sure they can help us but we're better off advancing at our own pace. I really hope we as a people don't ruin this for them.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bhoss

    Whats spider man and his sister doing with that tribesman?

    August 9, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chan

    btw meant no offense...Im saying I understand...But that lil voice of warning inside me; erks me during times of humanities low this one in the making.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. LH

    In case I needed a reason to hate people even more than I already do, I only have to glance over some of the comments left by the so-called civilized humans in our midst. As we can see, even though Cro-Magnons can learn to use a computer, they should not delude themselves into believing that they possess any sort of measurable intelligence.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • saintkid

      I completely agree

      August 9, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. JNOnSTL

    The photos were never a hoax, but the claim that the tribe was recently discovered was (they were known since 1910). Google "Amazon tribe hoax 2008" and you'll get the other photo, though I'm not sure the tribe in this story is the same.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    I remember how amazed and thankful I felt when the tribe was discovered. We must protect them. Let us pray for them and erase doubt and fear. Let us pray these precious people keep safe. How can we support their freedom without destroying them? God Bless them all.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • cowboybob

      God bless who? Heathen tribes people don't believe in God.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
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