HomeNewsBriefPCC Death Squad Stalked Police Officers in Brazil
BRIEF

PCC Death Squad Stalked Police Officers in Brazil

BRAZIL / 28 MAR 2019 BY DOUWE DEN HELD EN

PCC gang members in Brazil monitored police on social media and invaded their homes disguised in worker's uniforms -- in a brazen, hit-squad like attempt on their lives.

The country’s most notorious prison gang, First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) was preparing to kill 12 public security officials, including police officers and prison guards, according to the civil police organized crime unit (Delegacia Especializada de Combate ao Crime Organizado – DECO). The arrest of the gang members revealed the death squad’s sophisticated surveillance techniques.

PCC members first gathered intelligence using open sources, like social networks, to find information about their targets, authorities said. They also monitored official webpages of the government and the state’s Diário Oficial to remain up to date on officials’ post transfers. The information was then sent to criminal leaders in prison.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profile

Other gang members carried out field operations. Most had debts to the PCC leadership, and the planned killings were a way to pay them off. Using the information obtained online, they surveilled the officers and their relatives, friends, and colleagues, staking out their homes and vehicles, and learning their daily routines. They even entered their targets’ homes disguised as cable guys.

Police suspect that the killing of a 25-year-old soldier was the first and only successful murder of the dozen planned. One of the four suspects arrested in the killing had been released from prison just three weeks earlier.

The same faction of the gang also hired private detectives to monitor the routines of public servants, allowing them to execute three federal prison officers, authorities said.

InSight Crime Analysis

The revelation of a death squad-like unit inside the PCC highlights the gang’s growing sophistication, and demonstrates how far its members are willing to go in their fight against the state.

The PCC, formed by prisoners in the 1990s, has developed into Brazil’s largest and most organized criminal structure, greatly expanding into into Paraguay and Bolivia, where it is involved in drug and arms trafficking.

SEE ALSO: PCC News and Profile

The criminal group’s operational skill was put on display in 2017, when a squad stole $11.7 million in cash from private security company Prosegur, in a commando style heist. In the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, the gang set cars ablaze, sprayed gunfire into the company headquarters, and then used explosives to blast their way into the vault containing the cash. Between 50 and 60 gang members took part in the heist before fleeing by boat back to Brazil.

In 2018, authorities seized financial ledgers, detailing the gang's income streams, money laundering tactics and membership growth. According to the documents, the PCC’s illicit activities could earn the group at least $100 million and perhaps up to $200 million annually.

For all these reasons, InSight Crime named the PCC one of its three criminal ‘winners’ of 2018, calling the group one of the Americas’ most important criminal structures to watch. Its recent hit squad operation lays bare why this is so.

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 / 29 JUN 2017

Faced by the public defenders of a youth court in São Paulo, Brazil, Gorete emotionally explained what happened on the…

BRAZIL / 11 DEC 2020

It was August 31, 1993, and the sun was shining when eight men entered a makeshift soccer pitch in the…

BRAZIL / 17 JAN 2013

Kidnappings in Rio de Janeiro almost doubled between 2011 and 2012, which could be connected to the damage to drug…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…