Despite being jailed in a federal prison in Brazil, an alleged PCC gang leader continues to govern the Brazil-Paraguay border, suggesting that the government is showing no clear signs of wanting to combat organized crime groups head on.
Police in Paraguay said that five vehicles, with a value of around $60,000, were seized from a warehouse in the criminally strategic border town of Pedro Juan Caballero. The raid was blamed on Sérgio de Arruda Quintiliano Neto, alias “Minotauro,” a leader of Brazilian gang, First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), who was consolidating power and establishing himself as an important crime boss on the Brazil-Paraguay border until his arrest in February.
*This article was originally published by ABC Color. It was translated, edited for clarity and reprinted with permission, but does not necessarily reflect the views of InSight Crime. See the original article in Spanish here.
The five vehicles that disappeared on February 7, included a red Chevrolet Montana, a silver Hyundai Tucson, a white Chevrolet S10, a white Volkswagen Tiguan and a white Ford Focus.
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The vehicles, suffering from mechanical problems or lacking parts, had been under police guard in a sealed warehouse.
However, not only was the warehouse raided but a crane was used to remove all five vehicles, suggesting that the operation could not have been carried out without the complicity of police forces. Around 20 police officers in Paraguay who had been paid off by the PCC have recently been identified and arrested. Several of Minotauro's gang members have also been identified, but most of whom strikingly still remain free.
The aforementioned warehouse was supposedly used by Minotauro and other members from Brazil’s PCC -- the country’s most powerful organized crime group -- to outfit vehicles with double bottoms to transfer drug shipments, in addition to repainting, modifying and equipping vehicles with armor to shield them from security forces while being used in attacks.
Aside from these modifications, the now disappeared vehicles had special value for Minotauro and the PCC as they had recently been used in several of the latest attacks carried out on the Brazil-Paraguay border.
Minotauro is currently being held at a federal prison in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia. This does not seem to have stopped his ability to give orders to his collaborators in Pedro Juan Caballero, a town he once supervised through a monitoring center which controlled security cameras at strategic points.
*This article was originally published by ABC Color. It was translated, edited for clarity and reprinted with permission, but does not necessarily reflect the views of InSight Crime. See the Spanish original here.