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. Doomguy

    There was no tribe. Those were superheros out fighting the drug cartels.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      The one on the right looks like Spiderman

      August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • angelosm

      that's what I'm saying!!!! They are dressed EXACTLY like Spiderman!

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


      August 9, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Indians are from India. Peru is not in India.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • rachel

      "Indian" is a term used to describe native peoples, not just to describe people from India. Moron.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      So you mean this photo is not an ariel view of bangalore?....get over it the word Indian has been used in the west for a long time.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Smarter than you

      @ Chris, actually, Indians are also from the west indies.....over on the western hemisphere.....thus the "term" are an imbecile.....

      August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • FauxNews

      India was named after the tribes in America who migrated there 😉

      August 9, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Per Axel

      EAST Indians are from India. Also some of them prefer to call themselves ASIAN. AMERICAN Indians are from the USA and INDIANS are from CENTRAL and SOUTH America. "TRIBESMEN" are from AFRICA or East Asia, i.e. New Guinea. It is truly sad we are exterminating these people. Racial genocide.

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

      There are two types of Indian "Black Indian" from India also refered as Endia and another are "Red Indians" from Continenet of Americas.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Columbus went out in search of India and ended up in America. He thought the natives here were as "Indians" and hence the name Indians is used for any natives

      August 9, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • jacques poutine

      indians are froim india, morons call natives in the america's indians because when colombo discovered america he thought he had reached india, its over 400 years later now and people are still stupid and ignorant. if you call a native up here in canada an indian, he will probably punch you in the face. just because you people are all ignorant doesnt make any of you right.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • MattinDC

      No you're ALL wrong,,,they're called REDSKINS!!! And I hope they BEAT dallas!!!

      August 9, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • jacques poutine

      except chris and john they appear to have workable brains. props go to you guys

      August 9, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Shalise

    Perhaps they should not have been intruded upon, photographed and advertised in the first place, hm?

    August 9, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • issora

      My thoughts exactly!

      August 9, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Thats awful, this tribe's culture has survived intact for literally tens of thousands of years. They provided us with a look back in time at our own development. And these stupid drug traffickers have completed wiped them out and erased all knowledge of their ancient civilization for greed and lust of power. We are truly a pathetic species and don't deserve to continue existing.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Nora


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

      Hi Jim,

      Speak for yourself...

      August 9, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • J.C.

      I share your distress, but remember too that there were people that had the foresight and intelligence to try to protect the indigenous people and I'd say the majority of folks are appalled at what happened. I wouldn't condemn all of us for the acts of a few bad apples. However, the bad apples certainly need to be incapacitated with poison tipped darts and fed to crocodiles.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bud h

    So how do you stop this from occurring again and again? Create an anti-cocaine type of drug and release it in the air over the entire planet, and watch the results.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • curious


      August 9, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • nathan

      It's called agent orange, and it'll do more that wipe out cocaine. You can't do something like that without unintended consequences. If it wasn't cocaine, it'd be something else. People are the real problem, not the drugs. – Just playing Devil's Advocate....

      August 9, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. jack

    We cannot just go in and make contact with these people. If they have never been subjected to humans from modern society than they will most likely die from our diseases. When Columbus and the rest of the Europeans began exploring the New World the kill rate was 80-90%...Not from guns or fighting but from diseases that you and I are carrying around yet we are immune to....

    August 9, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Average Joe

    More victims of the war on drugs. Why do we (as in the world as a whole) keep doing this to ourselves? Yes, some drugs are dangerous. Yes, they're not good for your health. But, is the harm that the drugs themselves do worse than the harm we do trying to prevent people from using them? I don't think it is. Drug control is a total farce. Nothing is controlled. We stop a very small minority of the drug trade and somehow we think that if we just keep doing it things are going to change. They're not. People are going to continue to use drugs as they have throughout their entire existence as a species. You can't change that. The logical thing to do is to actually control the drug trade. Have quality and purity standards and collect taxes on the sales. And to the people who say that this won't put traffickers out of business I have a question for you. What happened to the black market trade in alcohol once it was legalized and regulated?

    August 9, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • R

      I say legalize drugs... regulate them... and anyone who uses them is denied health insurance... denied life insurance... LTD/STD... social security... etc...

      August 9, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • The1TheONLY

      We know what the R is for!

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

      Hey Joe, I agree with everything you said. can I quote you on twitter?

      August 9, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • H Allen Johnson

      In response to would not be able to deny a drug user benefits. Case in point, I know alcoholics who draw a disability check because alcoholism is supposedly a disease and some smokers who draw benefits because they have emphysema.

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

    Brazilian government has known about the tribe since 1910, and said the government has had a policy of no contact with the tribe since 1988 in an effort to protect them from illnesses. LiveScience, June 2008.

    hardly 'recently discovered'.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Veronica

    Just another reason to make drugs legal, grow our own coca and the Peruvians will be out of business and not need to intrude upon the rainforest's indigenous peoples.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. dutspup

    I expected like in the movies where these indians would be like stealth assasins and wipe out the drug traffickers with poison darts and magic, so much for that.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Smarter than you

    These peoples lives reach out to all peoples hearts because of what they represent.......true uninhibited freedom, living in complete harmony with nature.....what everyone in their heart of hearts desires to go back to...

    August 9, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Brad

    It was really exciting when we heard of their existence. In hindsight, it was the beginning of the end for them. What a shame.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ken

    Great .. the only people in the world not impacted by Obama's fiscal policies and drug traffickers wipe them out. All hope is lost.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • drew


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

      Ignorant comment from a Republican troll. Thanks for exposing yourself.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    I think the best way to protect these "isolated" tribes is to not isolate them at all. Outside contact is important, especially from groups that want to protect them. If they do not know of the dangers present in the outside world, then how can they protect themselves? In addition, I actually think it's detrimental not to expose these human beings to the advances we all take for granted in the outseide world. I feel like some scientists and anthropologists want to keep these people isolated so they can study them like animals in a lab, which is just wrong. Give them the choice of how they want to live their lives. And yes, they may lose part of their culture and possibly their language. That is just something that needs to be accepted.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. dana

    you wonder why this happened? you released photos and film to the world showing us that they did exist and exactly where to find them! they've probably existed peacefully within the Amazon for decades (at least) and the only reason they have disappeared is because CNN thought they were news. You fools.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
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