Brazil's largest criminal organization is reportedly recruiting dissident FARC guerrillas in order to broaden its drug trafficking operations in the region, but the group will face several challenges if it is attempting to expand its presence in Colombia.
Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told the Wall Street Journal that the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) is offering jobs to dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC). The PCC, a powerful prison gang established in Brazil in the early 1990s, is allegedly courting FARC dissidents in an effort to obtain heavy weapons and military training needed to fight against Brazil's armed forces, while also hoping to expand into Colombian territory, security experts told the Journal.
On Tuesday, January 31, Villegas met in Amazonian city of Manaus with Brazilian Defense Minister Raúl Jungmann. The agenda touched upon the peace treaty signed between the FARC and the Colombian government, and the growing threat that organized crime groups pose to the security of the two countries. The ministers have agreed to work together to eradicate transnational criminal organizations operating along their shared 1,600 kilometer border.
InSight Crime Analysis
While the PCC's efforts to recruit FARC soldiers are a sign that the group is trying to intensify its operations in Colombian territory, the gang's alleged plan will likely face a number of obstacles.
SEE ALSO: PCC News and Profile
First, Colombia's southeast border is highly competitive criminal territory. The PCC will likely confront other organized crime groups that are looking for ways to fill the power vacuum created by the FARC's demobilization. In fact, the Urabeños criminal organization have already reportedly begun offering FARC soldiers a salary of 1,800,000 Colombian pesos (approximately $600) to join their ranks, in an effort to take control of the guerrilla's drug trafficking and illegal mining businesses.
What's more, the PCC is not the only Brazilian group with connections to the FARC that may be looking to take advantage of the guerrilla demobilization.
"The FARC’s principal commercial alliance in northern Brazil currently sits with Família do Norte (FDN), not PCC," Lloyd Belton, a political and country risk analyst at S-RM, told InSight Crime.