Brazil's largest and most powerful criminal organization is allegedly plotting to free a prominent drug trafficker currently jailed in Paraguay, raising questions about the extent of the trafficker's ties to the powerful gang.
Brazil's federal police warned authorities in Paraguay that the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) may be trying to rescue Jarvis Chimenes Pavão from a Paraguay prison, ABC Color reported on October 2.
Security forces in Brazil reportedly intercepted communications between various PCC members discussing a plan to attack the facility where Pavão is being held in order to free him.
Pavão is currently nearing the end of an eight-year jail sentence for money laundering and criminal association after being arrested in Paraguay in 2009. He is set to be extradited in December to Brazil, where he faces an additional 17 years and eight months in prison for drug trafficking.
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According to ABC Color, authorities in Paraguay have implemented a series of security measures in response to the warning, including seizing a number of cell phones from detained PCC members allegedly operating under Pavão's command.
The military is also conducting night flights in helicopters over the penitentiary, and concrete barricades and fire trucks have been installed at the penitentiary's entrance to thwart a possible direct attack, according to ABC Color.
This is not the first time that reports have surfaced about possible plans to free Pavão. In July 2017, police in Paraguay identified an escape plan that reportedly involved rescuing Pavão by helicopter.
Earlier this year, the PCC was blamed for a violent and sophisticated "commando-style heist" on a secure transport company in Paraguay, suggesting the gang has the technical capability and resources to carry out a similar operation aimed at freeing Pavão.
InSight Crime Analysis
Reports that the PCC may be planning a jailbreak for Pavão suggest that the long-time drug trafficker and Brazil's biggest gang may have formed an alliance aimed at consolidating control over the important drug trafficking hub of Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay -- Pavão's traditional stronghold.
Indeed, Pavão has continued to run a powerful criminal network despite being behind bars. His organization is suspected of involvement in a violent turf war in the Brazil-Paraguay border region, which included the 2016 murder of rival drug trafficker Jorge Rafaat Toumani. Brazilian authorities suspect the slaying was ordered by the PCC.
Numerous reports have already surfaced suggesting the PCC is engaged in a campaign of regional expansion throughout South America, including in Paraguay. And allying with Pavão, who appears to have significant control over the hotly contested Brazil-Paraguay border area, could help the group expand its role in the regional drug trade.
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However, the reports of the planned jailbreak suggest the PCC may be worried that their potential partner will not be able to run his organization as easily from a Brazilian prison as he has been able to do in Paraguay.
Indeed, Pavão's legal team has expressed concerns about his impending extradition to Brazil, alleging that he is going there simply "to die." Moreover, a high-ranking police official in Paraguay allegedly heard from his counterparts in Brazil that Pavão "would not last more than six months in a Brazilian jail."