- The threat was issued by the First Capital of the Command in Sao Paulo
- Gang was behind the murder of more than a hundred of the city’s police
- Last night violent demonstrations exploded on the streets of Brazil
In messages intercepted by police this week, leaders of the gang in Sao Paulo made the vague but ominous threat should the authorities move jailed members of the cartel to a tougher prison.
In Brazil, powerful gangs often linked to the drug trade are very powerful and frequently control whole prisons and favelas, or shanty towns.
During 2012, a war broke out between the gang and Sao Paulo’s Military Police.
They felt the government had violated an informal agreement, long denied by officials, to slow the prison transfers of gang leaders and limit crackdowns on its operations on Sao Paulo’s outskirts in exchange for an end to gang violence.
The reason the First Capital of the Command, Primeiro Comando da Capital, known as PCC (pronounced peh-ceh-ceh) don’t want their members dispersed to other jails outside the area is that they would have difficulty giving orders by cellphone to their soldiers on the outside.
The Mail article points out that the PCC was initially formed to pressure for improved prison conditions inside Sao Paulo’s Taubate Penitentiary:
While the gang’s start may have been rooted in fighting for basic human rights of the imprisoned, its members quickly began using their power inside prisons to direct drug-dealing and extortion operations on the outside.
‘The PCC is better organized, more powerful, and they have a monopoly of crimes and power which is something nobody achieved in Rio,’ said Ignacio Cano, a researcher at the Violence Analysis Center at Rio de Janeiro State University. ‘They are by far the strongest criminal group in Brazil.’
Reportedly they are well organized into a corporate business model that includes outsourcing.
Folha de Sao Paulo has been covering the PCC, and they report that Brazil’s defense minister stated in a press conference that the Federal Police, the National Guard and the Ministry of Defense are up to the challenge of providing security at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, protests continue in Brazil,