HomeNewsBriefBrazil Police Op Uncovers Organized Crime-Politics Links
BRIEF

Brazil Police Op Uncovers Organized Crime-Politics Links

BRAZIL / 5 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Police in Brazil have so far arrested 42 people in a case linking Brazilian politicians and drug traffickers, highlighting the extent of corruption among Brazil's political elite.

The suspects detained on July 4 as a result of an ongoing investigation labeled "Operation Apocalypse" include three councilmen and the son of the Legislative Assembly president in Brazil's Rondonia department. The Legislative Assembly president, four councilmen, and five deputies from Rondonia are also under investigation.

The suspects are accused of involvement in a scheme in which drug traffickers financed the campaigns of officials, who, once elected, appointed the criminals to non-existent political posts and provided them with money embezzled from the state. One of the alleged leaders of the scheme is a drug trafficker in prison for involvement in a 2002 massacre, and is believed to have coordinated operations via telephone, according to Veja.

In Rondonia alone, a department near the Bolivian border, the group are belived to have moved over $14 million and police have already seized 200 cars, 25 buildings and 30 companies,  O Globo reported.

Suspects will likely be charged with financing drug trafficking, drug trafficking ties, embezzlement and falsification of funds, said police.

InSight Crime Analysis

The scheme underscores links between corrupt politicians and organized crime in Brazil, something that also came to light in a major 2012 scandal in which various politicians were found to have connections with a gambling racket that laundered criminal proceeds. Neither of these are isolated cases; by one 2008 estimate, up to 70 percent of money laundered in Brazil is related to official corruption. According to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), the majority of money laundering in Brazil is linked to domestic crime.

It is noteworthy that this most recent corruption scandal involves an imprisoned drug trafficker, another example of the ease with which major criminals imprisoned in Brazil continue to maintain external operations. The lack of control in Brazilian prisons, spurred in part by the country's immensely large prison population, has allowed for the rise of powerful prison gangs. 

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.

Tags

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

BRAZIL / 7 OCT 2022

Latin America's environmental and land protectors are routinely murdered by the regions criminals.

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

BRAZIL / 1 SEP 2021

The increasing use of an instant money transfer app is driving express kidnappings in the Brazilian city of São Paulo…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…