HomeNewsBriefLucrative Cocaine Trade Fuels Gang Presence in Brazil's Amazon
BRIEF

Lucrative Cocaine Trade Fuels Gang Presence in Brazil's Amazon

BRAZIL / 13 JAN 2017 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

An official intelligence report determined that the Peru-to-Brazil cocaine trade is worth $4.5 billion each year, spurring the growth of national and local gangs in Brazil's remote Amazon region, which was recently hit by a spate of prison violence. 

An intelligence report by Brazil's Secretary of Public Security of the Amazon found that the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC), Red Command and Family of the North (Família do Norte - FDN) are all present in the remote jungle region, according to Folha de São Paulo.

The PCC is reportedly active in seven states within the Amazon, while the Red Command is in six and the FDN is in two. There are also multiple local gangs in several of the states. 

The report indicated that the Amazon is the principal route for cocaine produced in Peru and Colombia destined for Brazil, the world's second-largest consumer of the illegal drug. The $4.5 billion figure cited in the report accounts for cocaine trafficking from Peru to Brazil but not from Colombia to Brazil, meaning the total revenue generated by drug trafficking in the area is even higher.

The intelligence dossier was compiled following prison riots in different parts of the Amazon earlier this month that left a total of 99 dead. The violence was reportedly linked to fighting between the PCC and FDN over control of drug trafficking routes. 

17-1-13-Brazil-Map

InSight Crime Analysis

The combination of a lucrative cocaine trade and sparse law enforcement presence makes the Amazon a natural attraction for Brazil's drug trafficking gangs. The intelligence report said 15,000 military police and 2,670 civil police officers would be needed to cover the entire Amazon territory. Currently, there are only 8,900 military officers and 1,905 civil police deployed to these areas. 

A new war between the PCC and Red Command, which has allied with the FDN, is believed to be behind the recent surge in prison violence in northern Brazil. The prisons are a frequent flash point in part because the gangs direct their criminal activities from behind bars.

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Prisons

While inter-gang violence has mostly stayed within the confines of the prison system, that could change. "This could cause problems in the streets," prosecutor Lincoln Gakiya told local media last October, referring to the conflict between the gangs. The FDN has threatened to "spread terror" both inside prisons and oustide, issuing death threats against local judicial and security officials. 

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 / 1 AUG 2022

Brazil’s cocaine and marijuana markets were affected very differently by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BRAZIL / 19 JAN 2021

Authorities in Brazil have dismantled a criminal organization specialized in the cloning of debit cards to steal emergency aid and…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 23 JUN 2022

The loosening of firearm restrictions in Brazil is creating new channels for criminal groups to obtain weapons via legal means…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…