Sérgio Roberto de Carvalho, better known as the “Brazilian Pablo Escobar” or “Major Carvalho,” a former Brazilian service member, has been arrested in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, in a joint operation between Interpol, the Brazilian Federal Police (PF), and foreign agencies, Agência Brasil de Notícias reported. Carvalho, who was arrested with false documents in the early hours of June 21, is considered by many investigators specializing in this type of crime to be among the world’s most wanted narcotraffickers.
The arrest comes after investigations conducted as part of the PF’s Operation Enterprise, which investigated drug money laundering and for which authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Carvalho in 2020. At the time, authorities also seized more than $100 million from the criminal organization led by Carvalho, reported the CNN Brazil website.
According to information from news site Pragmatismo, Carvalho was wanted on three continents and, since 2017, had sent about 45 tons of cocaine to Europe, moving almost $500 million. Also, according to Pragmatismo, the drugs were sent through the ports of Paranaguá, Santos, and other cities in the South and Northeast of Brazil. The drugs were bound for the ports of Antwerp (Belgium), Gioia Tauro and Livorno (Italy), Hamburg (Germany), Barcelona and Algeciras (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), and Le Havre (France).
Carvalho was arrested for the first time in 1997, a year after retiring as an officer of the Military Police of Mato Grosso do Sul, where he worked for 16 years. The former major was formally expelled from the Military Police in March 2018, according to the website UOL.
Carvalho, who operated in Europe under the fake identity of a Surinamese national named Paul Wouter, was detained in the Spanish city of Marbella in 2020. Before Spanish authorities found out who they were dealing with, he had paid his bail and allegedly hired a reputable beautician to help him fake his own death, when the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office was about to ask for his remand in custody.
The PF has yet to confirm whether Carvalho will be imprisoned in Europe or extradited to Brazil to serve his sentence.