On September 5, the State of São Paulo Civil Police arrested Anderson Lacerda Pereira, alias Gordão, one of Brazil’s most wanted narcotraffickers, at a restaurant in Poá. Pereira had been wanted since 2017, when he was sentenced to 21 years in prison for international narcotrafficking and also had an Interpol Red Diffusion against him since 2020 for money laundering.
Pereira is accused of shipping cocaine to Europe and also defrauding public health in the city of Arujá, in greater São Paulo.
As a member of the First Capital Command (PCC) Pereira led an international trafficking scheme with the Italian mafia Ndrangheta. On his farm, in the municipality of Santa Isabel in São Paulo, according to several news sites, such as Brazil’s R7, Pereira had set up a mini zoo with a collection of exotic animals such as monkeys, macaws, giant tortoises, and alligators, as a kind of tribute to Pablo Escobar, whom he idolized. Pereira named the zoo Guamuchilito, after the village in the city of Sinaloa, Mexico, where Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes of the Juárez Cartel was born.
Pereira’s right-hand man, identified as Jânio Nascimento Barroso, who was having lunch with him at the time of his arrest, was also captured. A press release from São Paulo’s Secretariat of Public Security said that the hunt for the narcotrafficker began in November 2021, when they started investigating Barroso. “The suspect was monitored to ascertain trafficking activity and locate the fugitive. With evidence gathered and intense surveillance, we were able to locate the two suspects having lunch in a popular restaurant,” the statement said.
The Civil Police estimates Pereira’s assets at more than $24 million. With the narcotrafficking money, he set up 38 dental clinics and a hospital in greater São Paulo. He also owned more than 60 properties, at least 20 high end condominiums, hospital supplies distributors, including an inn in Porto de Galinhas, Bahia state.
At least two of the houses had bunkers, where Pereira and his accomplices could hide. In one of his properties under construction in Arujá, police found a bunker and a 50-meter long tunnel in the basement that led into a forest as an escape route.
According to the Civil Police, Pereira was sending tons of cocaine to Europe through the Port of Santos. To expand his business, Pereira infiltrated the Arujá City Hall and signed million-dollar contracts, without bidding, to provide garbage collection services, food distribution, and medicines for public hospitals.
A Civil Police investigation indicates that painkillers from Arujá’s public health network were diverted to be mixed in the production of cocaine. The scheme was only possible because Pereira controlled the management of a municipality hospital and an emergency care unit.
Garbage trucks from the hospitals with which he had a contract transported the drugs. Pereira’s interference in Arujá municipal health network began in 2018 and continued until February 2020.
On September 8, authorities transferred Pereira to a maximum security prison with a strong police escort.