HomeNewsBriefBrazil's 'Friends' Gang Show their Muscle in Olympic Pool: Police
BRIEF

Brazil's 'Friends' Gang Show their Muscle in Olympic Pool: Police

AMIGOS DOS AMIGOS / 22 OCT 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A photo has emerged of suspected members of Rio's Amigos dos Amigos gang sporting weapons in a swimming pool set to be used in the 2016 Olympic Games, providing an indication of the security challenge criminal groups pose to major public events in Brazil.

The photo (pictured) shows men armed with three assault rifles posing in a swimming pool in the Felix Mielli Venerando Olympic Village in northern Rio de Janeiro's Honorio Gurgel neighborhood. According to Folha, the image -- along with several others in which gang members show off weapons in Rio neighborhoods -- was posted on Facebook and subsequently acquired by police. 

Police discovered the break-in at the venue in mid-October, reported Folha

According to police, the men in the photo belonged to a faction of Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of Friends - ADA) led by Celso Pinheiro Pimenta, alias "Playboy."

In a communication intercepted by police, Pinheiro Pimenta stated: "I loved the pool, man. What a complex, it's all ours."

Authorities said security had since been heightened in the complex, which was built for the 2016 Summer Olympics, reported the International Business Times.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the incident appears to be little more than a few armed men showing off their shiny weapons, it is a reminder that Brazil's major gangs have the capacity to cause havoc at events like the Olympics. 

In the run-up to the recent 2014 World Cup, rising gang attacks on police in Rio led to claims these groups were attempting to "sabotage" the event, while the First Capital Command (PCC) gang of São Paulo threatened a "World Cup of Terror." Meanwhile, Southern Pulse pointed to the potential for a smaller gang -- the First Catarinense Group -- to expand its operations outside Brazil's biggest urban centers while security attention was focused on Rio and São Paulo.

SEE ALSO: Amigos dos Amigos Profile 

ADA is one of Rio's top drug gangs, and disputes territory with its progenitor, the Red Command (CV), and another splinter gang, the Pure Third Command (TCP). While the ADA has faced challenges from Rio's "pacification" program, it appears to be retaking control of key parts of the city, such as Rocinha -- the biggest favela -- and flexing its muscle against the other gangs. In the lead-up to the October 5 presidential elections, police attributed violence in the Mare favela complex to Playboy looking to take back areas from the Pure Third Command. Insecurity caused by these gangs forced President Dilma Rousseff and the Rio state governor to abandon Mare during a public event in September. 

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

BRAZIL / 8 MAR 2021

Criminal dynamics in Brazil, particularly its drug trafficking routes, have been shaken up in recent years by the rapid expansion…

BOLIVIA / 14 MAY 2021

The extradition of a prominent Bolivian drug trafficker to Brazil has shed rare light on how family clans in the…

ARGENTINA / 27 MAY 2021

While contraband has boomed at the Argentina-Brazil border during the COVID-19 pandemic, wine seems to have been in particularly high…

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…