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Paraguay finds 25 tons of old Venezuelan bills

By
Andrew V. Pestano
The National Police of Paraguay on Tuesday said it found about 25 tons of legal Venezuelan banknotes that are no longer in circulation that could be used to counterfeit U.S. dollars because of their high quality. Photo courtesy National Police of Paraguay
The National Police of Paraguay on Tuesday said it found about 25 tons of legal Venezuelan banknotes that are no longer in circulation that could be used to counterfeit U.S. dollars because of their high quality. Photo courtesy National Police of Paraguay

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The National Police of Paraguay said it seized about 25 tons of legal Venezuelan bolivar currency banknotes, which could have been used to counterfeit U.S. dollar bills.

Most of the banknotes found in the Saltos del Guaira property were in the 50 and 100 bolivar denominations, which are no longer in circulation in Venezuela.

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Paraguayan officials on Tuesday said they would count the bills to determine the total worth. Police arrested Paraguayan national Bruno José Da Costa Amaral, the 39-year-old who owned the property where police found the banknotes who is also suspected of dealing firearms and drugs.

"The paper used for the Venezuelan bills is considered of high quality and it is not ruled out that they are used to counterfeit dollars," the National Police of Paraguay said in a statement.

Police said another possibility could be that the smugglers exported bolivars illegally from Venezuela to Paraguay to sell the bills in the black market for U.S. dollars in order to take those dollars back to Venezuela, where there is a shortage of U.S. dollars.

In mid-January, Central Bank of Venezuela said began progressively introducing new banknotes as the country deals with unprecedented inflation. The largest Venezuelan bolivar was the 100, which was replaced by a 20,000 note.

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