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Brazil

Brazil faces a serious threat from its two largest domestic criminal gangs: the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando Capital - PCC) and Red Command (Comando Vermelho), which are becoming increasingly involved in the international drug trade, as well as operating extortion and kidnapping rings at home.

Latest News

Killing of Brazil's Top Militia Leader Raises More Questions Than it Answers

NEWS / 16 JUN 2021

Rio de Janeiro’s foremost militia leader has been gunned down by police, potentially shattering the belief that militias in the city were protected due to connections with authorities. But was…

Gatonet - The Illegal TV Connections Bankrolling Militias in Rio

NEWS / 10 JUN 2021

By undercutting legal streaming apps, militia groups are providing an illegal television service to millions of households in Brazil, earning them a fortune and bankrolling other criminal activities.

Could Militia-Red Command Feud Explain Manaus Violence in Brazil?

NEWS / 9 JUN 2021

Manaus, the economic heart of Brazil’s Amazon, has come under siege from the Red Command gang after the killing of a top drug leader. But these attacks may be the…

Brazil Profile

Criminal Actors

Armed Groups

As South America’s largest nation, Brazil has produced two of the region’s most powerful criminal groups: The First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) and Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Both began as prison gangs but have since transformed themselves into transnational crime organizations involved in cocaine smuggling to Europe, controlling the movement of drugs out of country’s ports. The gangs also continue to be a national threat, with members organized around city strongholds, where they regulate everything from local drug sales and cigarette smuggling to violent bank robberies.

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Personalities

Marcelo Fernando Pinheiro Veiga, alias “Piloto”

BRAZIL PERSONALITIES / APRIL 13, 2020

Marcelo “Piloto” Pinheiro was considered one of the Brazilian government’s most sought-after drug traffickers until 2017. He is believed to have once been the second-in-command of the Red Command (Comando…

Gilberto Aparecido Dos Santos, alias 'Fuminho'

BRAZIL PERSONALITIES / APRIL 13, 2020

Gilberto Aparecido Dos Santos, alias “Fuminho,” is one of the leaders of Brazil’s largest and most powerful criminal organization, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC).

Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, alias ‘Marcola’

BRAZIL / MARCH 25, 2020

Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, known by the aliases “Marcola” and “Playboy,” has been the top leader of Brazil’s biggest and most powerful criminal organization, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando…

Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, alias 'Nem'

AMIGOS DOS AMIGOS / 2018-04-04

Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, alias “Nem,” led the Amigos dos Amigos gang in Rocinha, a neighborhood of some 150,000 residents in the southern part of Rio de Janeiro that is…

News

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 JUN 2021

Florida has been unable to shake its reputation as a go-to destination for Latin American criminals to secure guns and ammunition, with Brazil's most powerful gang the latest recipient.

BRAZIL / 4 JUN 2021

A government registry in Brazil has been used to designate millions of hectares of Amazon forest as rural lands, in a process that critics say fuels state-sanctioned land grabs and…

'NDRANGHETA / 28 MAY 2021

Court cases. Hitmen. Interpol. International drug traffickers sometimes need to get away from it all. Brazil has sought to cater to that elite clientele and their specific requirements: living in…

ARGENTINA / 27 MAY 2021

While contraband has boomed at the Argentina-Brazil border during the COVID-19 pandemic, wine seems to have been in particularly high demand, with one high-profile murder being linked to its smuggling.

BRAZIL / 24 MAY 2021

Of the nearly 140 reporters killed in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras during the past decade, about half covered organized crime.

BRAZIL / 20 MAY 2021

The environment minister under investigation. The head of the environmental protection agency suspended. The Brazilian government is facing its strongest accusations to date…

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