HomeNewsBriefArgentina Soccer Crime Case Shows Evolution of Hooligan Groups
BRIEF

Argentina Soccer Crime Case Shows Evolution of Hooligan Groups

ARGENTINA / 1 DEC 2017 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

A new round of arrests and charges in an unfolding racketeering case in Argentina involving a criminalized soccer fan club, or "barra brava," points to these groups' growing sophistication and capacity for violence.

On November 30, Argentine authorities announced that they had conducted more than 30 raids on various properties connected to the barra brava of the Club Atlético Independiente, one of the top-ranked teams in Argentina's premier soccer league.

In a press release, the Security Ministry stated that the 14 suspects arrested in the operation included the team's vice president, Noray Nakis. Officials accused Nakis of using Independiente's barra brava "as shock troops for his personal interest," and said he used "his jewelry stores to launder money obtained from illegal businesses," including ticket scalping and illicit parking services around the stadium.

Authorities also detained Roberto Petrov, who served as a bodyguard for Independiente president Hugo Moyano. According to La Nación, three police officers were injured by gunfire when attempting to detain Petrov.

The Security Ministry said that the raids came after an eight-month investigation that had previously resulted in the October 27 arrest of Pablo "Bebote" Álvarez, the leader of the Independiente barra brava. Bebote was accused of attempting to extort Ariel Holan, the team's head coach.

InSight Crime Analysis

Specific details about the inner workings of the criminal network linked to Independiente's barra brava have so far been sparse. Taken in context, however, several facts of the case add to mounting evidence that Argentina's barras bravas are evolving from loosely organized hooligans into more complex criminal structures.

In addition, the fact that police were reportedly fired upon in their attempt to detain Petrov indicates the group's willingness to confront authorities with a potentially lethal level of violence.

Furthermore, authorities say top team officials not only tolerated, but actively participated in criminal activities involving the barra brava. These types of relationships could lead crooked executives to be more willing to use violence in relation to illicit activities not usually associated with physical conflict, like ticket scalping and illicit parking schemes.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Soccer Crime

Argentina's barras bravas have long been associated with smaller-scale criminal activities like extortion and drug dealing. But they have grown more powerful over the years thanks to protection from powerful teams that often have ties to potent political forces. (A similar dynamic has been observed in neighboring Uruguay.)

Prior to the recent operation against the Independiente barra brava, the Argentine government had taken steps to clamp down on such groups, including creating a government registry in early 2016 to attempt to track them. While these initiatives have achieved some results, they have also revealed the barras' depth and sophistication, which will make these groups difficult to dismantle.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 7 JUN 2021

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is once again engaging in suspicious and potentially illegal fishing near Argentinean waters, demonstrating the limits…

GUATEMALA / 17 JUN 2011

A profile from the Guatemalan online news site Plaza Publica of a flamboyant former mayor from north Guatemala,…

ARGENTINA / 7 JUL 2016

The discovery of over 67,000 ecstasy pills smuggled from Germany into Argentina sheds light on the supply-side dynamics of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…