A criminal group allied with Brazil’s PCC was allegedly behind the massacre of more than a dozen people in a strategic area of northern Brazil, suggesting the country’s most powerful criminal group is continuing with efforts to expand their operations.
Members of the Guardians of the State (Guardiões do Estado - GDE) criminal group were allegedly behind the massacre of 14 people at a party organized by the Red Command (Comando Vermelho - CV) in the capital city of Fortaleza in Brazil’s northeastern Ceará state, O Globo reported. The two groups are allegedly battling for control over the local drug trade.
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Following the collapse of a longstanding truce between the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) and the Red Command in early 2017, Brazil's two main criminal groups, the PCC reportedly joined forces with the GDE while the Red Command allied with the Family of the North (Família do Norte - FDN), according to O Globo. Both are smaller criminal organizations operating primarily in northern Brazil.
The recent violence may be part of a growing war between Brazil's two strongest criminal groups following the end of their alliance over control of the drug trade.
The massacre also comes amid rising violence in northern Brazil largely as a result of the broken truce and competition over strategic drug trafficking routes. According to Estadão, homicides in Ceará increased by more than 50 percent between 2016 and 2017, and by more than 96 percent in Fortaleza.
InSight Crime Analysis
The PCC has long focused its efforts on expanding its criminal operations in a bid to become one of the region’s most powerful organized crime groups, and the latest massacre suggests that the group may now be relying on domestic alliances with smaller criminal groups to further that goal.
Over the course of 2017, the PCC expanded its criminal operations throughout South America to countries like Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay in an effort to become the principal supplier of cocaine in the South American market. The PCC may now be using a newfound alliance with the GDE to further expand their control over supplying Brazil’s booming consumer market with cocaine. The GDE was born in Fortaleza and controls large areas of the city.
SEE ALSO: PCC News and Profile
Fortaleza is one of Brazil’s most populous cities and home to a strategic port not far from the nearby port city of Belém in Pará state, one of the principal smuggling routes for cocaine coming from Peru and Colombia into Brazil for domestic consumption. The PCC is already known to have a presence in the northern Amazon region, and exerting control over this strategic area may further improve the group’s domestic drug distribution networks.