HomeNewsAnalysisPrisoners Schemed to Kidnap Lula's Son: Colombian Trafficker
ANALYSIS

Prisoners Schemed to Kidnap Lula's Son: Colombian Trafficker

BRAZIL / 5 JAN 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

A Colombian drug trafficker told Brazilian police of a plan to kidnap former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's son.

Brazilian drug trafficker Luis Fernando da Costa, better known as Fernandiño Beira Mar, was behind the plot, Ramirez reportedly confessed during a lie detector test. Beira Mar allegedly planned to pay his contacts $500,000 to kidnap the ex-president's son.

Ramirez was arrested in Brazil in August 2007 and extradited to the U.S. a year later, after being held in Campo Grande prison. He was a key operative for the Norte del Valle Cartel, the successor to the Cali Cartel which disintegrated into rival factions during the late 1990s, as various leaders were killed or captured. The cartel's armed wing, known as the Rastrojos, is now one of the most powerful Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) in Colombia. Ramirez is most infamous in Colombia for hiding million-dollar stashes across Cali.

Ramirez most likely made contact with the Brazilian crime barons, Fernando da Costa (who was arrested in Colombia in 2001, where he was exporting cocaine, in close association with the FARC) and Hebas Camacho, during his time at Campo Grande. Conditions in the prison were so deplorable that at one time Ramirez offered authorities millions of dollars to accelerate his extradition to the U.S.

It is not uncommon for extortion and kidnapping schemes to be run from Brazil's prisons, which are dominated by the powerful PCC. The country has the third largest prison population in the world, which is close to collapsing due to overcrowding, a recent study highlighted.

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