HomeNewsBriefBrazil Beheading Video Draws Attention to Gang Turf War
BRIEF

Brazil Beheading Video Draws Attention to Gang Turf War

BRAZIL / 5 FEB 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

A video has emerged depicting the beheading of a teenager in Brazil, in what could be an escalation of a brutal turf war between two rival gangs.

Police are investigating a video believed to show the decapitation of 16 or 17-year-old Israel Melo Junior, whose head was discovered in a bag on February 2 in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Globo reported.

The motivation behind the crime is so far unknown, however according to Estadão it is suspected that Junior's murder was the result of fighting between the gangs First Catarinense Group (Primeiro Grupo da Catarinense - PGC) and First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC). PGC allegedly controls drug trafficking in Santa Catarina, while PCC is based in São Paolo state.

SEE ALSO:  PCC News and Profile

In the video, a man wearing a mask uses an axe to behead the teenager, who appears to be dead. The body receives approximately 30 blows. At least two other people, whose faces are covered, also appear. The group seems to be in a forest.

Some hypotheses currently being explored include the possibility that the young boy collaborated with a rival gang, that there was a clash over debts, and that the decapitation was part of a ritual. The teenager had previously been involved in drug trafficking-related offenses, according to the Military Police.

Police official Fabiano Silveira stated that the area in which the boy's head was found, the northern part of Joinville district, is known for being a disputed area for drug trafficking.

The rest of the victim's body has not yet been found.

InSight Crime Analysis

The gruesome video appears to be connected to a violent push for territorial expansion by the PCC. According to police intelligence, Brazil's largest gang has for some time had its sights set on expanding its drug and arms trafficking operations into Santa Catarina.

SEE ALSO:  Brazil News and Profiles

The PCC has been spreading its tentacles since at least 2006, although past incursions into Santa Catarina were mostly pacific, with local gangs receiving training and sharing criminal earnings with PCC members.

Now, however, the PCC is being met with resistance by the PGC, which is considered a local faction of the larger gang. The state governor of Santa Catarina, Raimundo Colombo, acknowledged this in 2015 by saying "There is fighting between PCC and PGC. They battle it out all the time."

The dissemination of the beheading video online is a potential sign the turf war between the PCC and PGC has intensified.    

"Posting a video of a decapitation online in a public forum is unprecedented," Lloyd Belton, a political risk analyst at the consultancy firm S-RM, told InSight Crime. "[This] would indicate that the perpetrators clearly want to get a message across to rival gang members and also garner public attention."

That said, such barbaric acts are not uncommon among criminal groups in Brazil. Decapitations themselves are "a common method of execution used by gang members against other gang members... or informant[s]," according to S-RM's local security source.

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 / 9 SEP 2020

A series of police operations in Brazil have shown that the poaching of exotic species appears to have exploded during…

BRAZIL / 30 AUG 2018

With crime and violence on the rise across Brazil, security has become a major theme in the run-up to the…

BRAZIL / 14 NOV 2011

Brazil-based blogger Julia Michaels reports on the much-anticipated police take-over of favelas in Rio de Janeiro's South Zone, and an…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.