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Hostile Border Crossings: Smugglers Paradise Paraguay / Brazil

This is the third in a series (see posts East Berlin and Bulgaria).

In 1993, my pregnant wife and I were Caught smuggling Kilim rugs and a tea set at border crossing between Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

We spent a day in Cuidad del Este in Paraguay and crossed the bridge back into Foz do Iguaçu Brazil. However, Cuidad del Este is a well known entry point for smugglers of drugs, electronics, contraband, etc.

The Brazilian police were suspicious of why and American and his Brazilian wife would be at this frontier crossing unless we were smugglers.

Well, they busted us with two kilim rugs and a tea set. The border patrol thought we were really sophisticated and questioned us while inspecting the rugs and tea set. They were just rugs (nice ones) and a bone china English tea set.

We were fined some ridiculous amount and were able to keep our contraband rugs and china. My daughter now has the rugs in her apartment and we still have the china set, minus a few pieces after all these years.

Scene of the “crime”

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