Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brazil's Biggest Drug Cartel Threatens Violence At World Cup

From the Daily Mail:

Brazil's biggest drug cartel has promised a 'World Cup of terror' next year - in a reminder of the high level of violence that still marks the country.

The threat was issued by the First Capital Command [PCC] in Sao Paulo, who last year was behind the murder of more than a hundred of the city's police officers.

... 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.

... The gang was founded in 1993 by hardened criminals inside Sao Paulo's Taubate Penitentiary, but remained a relatively obscure group until early 2001, when uprisings in 29 prisons across the state killed 19 inmates. It was the biggest prison rebellion in Brazil's recent history and took police 27 hours to crush.

... '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.'

There are no official numbers on the gang's size, but the inner core considered as members is thought to include no more than a few thousand people, Cano said.

Police documents obtained by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo last year indicated the gang's members numbered just over 1,300, and showed they are required to pay $300 in monthly fees in exchange for legal aid if they're arrested and support for their families if they go to jail.

What makes the PCC so powerful is that corporate approach to how it manages gang enterprises as well as its reach beyond its core membership.

'They outsource. They contract people and allow them to carry out certain activities as long as they're paying them (the PCC) something in return,' Cano said. 'For example, in 2006 many people say the killings of policemen were outsourced.'

Estimates of the number of people connected in some way to the gang go as high as 100,000.

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