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Paraguay Will Check Mystery Barrels

January 8, 1998

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) _ Paraguay asked the U.S. and Israeli armies Thursday to lend it special protection suits so investigators can safely check the contents of some 1,500 barrels believed to contain toxic waste.

A criminal court judge ordered an investigation of the barrels based on testimony from a former Paraguayan Embassy secretary who said they may have come from Germany.

The barrels were recently discovered in a warehouse in Asuncion’s Paraguay River port area.

Port Director Jorge Cruz said records indicate the barrels arrived in several shipments between 1990 and 1992 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were addressed to Roberto Espinoza of Agrocomercial del Norte, a ficticious company.

Some are marked ``waste material,″ ``chlorates,″ and ``raw materials.″ Others have no label.

Anthony Stanley, director of the Federal Technology Institute, said President Juan Carlos Wasmosy has given him 30 days to resolve the problem.

Stanley, who requested the protective suits from the U.S. and Israeli armies, said he suspects the barrels contain toxic waste.

Another 100 barrels whose contents are unknown have been found abandoned at Paraguay’s port of Encarnacion on the Parana River, 150 miles east of Asuncion. It was not clear whether there was any connection with the barrels in Asuncion.

Criminal Court Judge Carlos Ortiz said he had questioned Jose Achucarro, a former secretary at the Paraguayan Embassy in Germany.

Achucarro says a German diplomat warned him in 1990 that German police were investigating a man posing as a Paraguayan consul in the German port city of Bremen. The man was suspected of trafficking in toxic waste, Achucarro said.

Achucarro was fired the same year.

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