Missing Amazon Tribe Likely Overrun by Drug Smugglers
Several months ago, aerial photos taken of a previously-unknown tribe in the Amazon rainforest captured imaginations and got a lot of people talking.
The tribe has since vanished, and now Brazilian authorities are worried cocaine smugglers are responsible for its disappearance.
A guard post put in place to protect the people and their land on the Envira River was destroyed by heavily-armed men believed to be drug-traffickers, and fears are mounting that the river has become an entry point into Brazil for cocaine smugglers from neighboring Peru.
Officials are also concerned because one of the traffickers’ bags, found by police, contained a broken arrow.
"Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians. We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. Now we have good proof," said Carlos Travassos, head of the Brazilian government’s isolated Indians department. "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."
In a press release, Survival International Director Stephen Corry said, "This is extremely distressing news. There is no knowing how many tribal peoples the drugs trade has wiped out in the past, but all possible measures should be taken to stop it happening again."
Watch the original aerial footage of the tribe below.