Sting operation leads to Brazil arrest of one of South America’s most wanted fugitives

30 de diciembre de 2023

Diego Nicolás Marset Alba, a reputed drug kingpin and brother to the leader of the “Primer Cartel Uruguayo” cartel, was arrested in Brazil on Tuesday 26 December as part of a regional police operation involving INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Brasilia, La Paz, Asuncion and Montevideo.

22-year-old Uruguayan national Diego Marset had been avoiding arrest for many years by using multiple false identities from Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. He is thought to be a central figure in the trafficking of drugs from South America to Europe and is also linked to several high-profile killings.

Officers from Brazil’s Federal Police monitor the Foz de Iguacu residence of Diego Marset’s wife.
Officers from Brazil’s Federal Police enter the wife’s residence to arrest Diego Marset in his wife’s home.
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Diego Marset was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice requested by Paraguay, which serves as a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and arrest a suspect for extradition.

Married to a Bolivian woman, Diego Marset became the focus of this strategic regional operation when INTERPOL shared intelligence that his wife was nearing childbirth in Foz de Iguacu, Brazil.

Foreseeing Marset's potential visit to Brazil for the birth, officers from Brazil’s Federal Police monitored the wife’s residence and arrested the fugitive when he arrived at her home.

Valdecy Urquiza, Brazil's Director of International Cooperation and INTERPOL Vice President for the Americas, said:

"It was the crucial leads provided by countries in the region to the global police community which permitted Brazil’s capture of Diego Marset. It is by working together this way to ensure dangerous fugitives are behind bars that police contribute to global security.

"This arrest not only makes the world a safer place but also demonstrates South America’s determination and commitment to dismantling global criminal networks for global security."

For NCB Asuncion, this arrest is part of “Operation A Ultranza PY”, one of Paraguay's most extensive operations against organized crime and money laundering and involving more than 100 raids, 30 arrest warrants, and the seizure of assets worth over USD 100 million.

Paraguay’s Minister of Interior Enrique Riera Escudero said:

“We commend INTERPOL for making sure critical policing tools are strategically positioned for effective regional cooperation across the globe: the INTERPOL community has been key to disrupting South American transnational organized crime groups which damage the region’s communities and economy with their dangerous activities.

“The arrest of Diego Marset stands as a warning for those who think they can continue to threaten our regional stability and security: this is just the beginning."

While Diego Marset now faces extradition to Paraguay, the hunt continues for his brother, Sebastián Marset, who remains at large and the subject of Red Notices from multiple countries for his drug trafficking ties and links to high profile murders.