The Rise of the PCC: Expansion in Brazil and Beyond

BRAZIL / 18 DEC 2020

Based on 18 months of field work in Brazil and Paraguay, this investigation explores the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), the hemisphere’s premier prison gang and one of the largest in the Americas.

The PCC is a unique organization. It is headquartered in Brazil’s and increasingly Paraguay’s penitentiary systems, but it has satellite organizations throughout the region, who are trafficking drugs on a local and an international level.

This series was done in conjunction with American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies.

Chapter 1

PCC Investigation: Introduction and Major Findings

BRAZIL / 11 DEC 2020

It was August 31, 1993, and the sun was shining when eight men entered a makeshift soccer pitch in the middle of the Taubaté prison.

Chapter 2

PCC: A Prison from Which There Is No Escape

BRAZIL / 14 DEC 2020

It was a Tuesday night, January 14, 2020, after “free time” when prison authorities found his body.

Chapter 3

How PCC ‘Discipline’ Helped Gang Control the Underworld

BRAZIL / 15 DEC 2020

On November 14, 2016, about 12 p.m., Carlos Magno de Souza was driving along the asphalt streets of Peruíbe, São Paulo, past the single-story houses that dot the seaside city…

Chapter 4

Court Case Paints Picture of Disorganization in Brazil’s PCC

BRAZIL / 16 DEC 2020

The PCC is often described as Brazil’s most potent criminal gang, but a recent case against it paints a picture that belies the reputation of the group as a strict,…

Chapter 5

While Taking Paraguay-Brazil Border, PCC Tries to Control Its Own

BRAZIL / 17 DEC 2020

On June 10, 2016, Jorge Rafaat was driving his armored Hummer when he pulled up to a stop light in central Pedro Juan Caballero, a Paraguayan city at the border…

Chapter 6

Intercepts Show How Brazil Police Extort PCC

BRAZIL / 18 DEC 2020

“Plata o Plomo” is an overused phrase to describe the way criminals threaten officials and civilians to ensure compliance with their wishes. In one Brazilian case, it seems more appropriately…

Full Report

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