Brazil Crime Gang Spread through Most of Country
By Dialogo November 27, 2012
Brazil’s largest organized crime gang has now spread across most of the country, according to a Justice Ministry report on November 25.
The gang called the First Command of the Capital is now present in 22 of the country’s 27 states, as well as in Paraguay and Bolivia, said the report quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
The group was formed in 1993 by drug traffickers doing time in a prison 140 kilometers from São Paulo. It is blamed for a wave of violence ravaging São Paulo state.
In response, authorities have transferred jailed leaders of the gang to maximum-security facilities elsewhere in Brazil.
The report quoted startling numbers: the gang takes in $32 million a year in drug sales and boasts 13,000 members, 6,000 of whom are held in jails in São Paulo state.
It said that of the 152 jails in São Paulo state, 135 are controlled by the gang. Members who are not in prison have to contribute $400 a month.
The increase in violence blamed on the gang is sobering: So far this year, around 100 people have been killed in São Paulo state, compared to 47 in all of 2011.