On January 19, 2022, the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) arrested three members of the Brazilian criminal organization First Capital Command (PCC, in Portuguese) on a rural property in Paraguay near the border region with Brazil. Agents of the SENAD’s Strategic Intelligence Department made the arrests in cooperation with the Brazilian Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese).
One of the detainees, Marcio Vinicius da Paixão Vieira, alias Pica-Pau, is the alleged head of the PCC in Minas Gerais. “[Marcio Vinicius] escaped from prison, therefore, he was considered an important target,” SENAD Minister Zully Rolón said in an interview with the Paraguayan channel PYTV. “He was in prison for drug charges,” Rolón added.
At the time of the arrest, the three individuals were coordinating criminal activities linked to drug and arms trafficking, SENAD said in a statement.
SENAD agents found Marcio Vinicius in a house on the outskirts of the Zanja Pytã municipality, in the Pedro Juan Caballero region, Amambay state. “According to authorities, the Joker tattoo on Marcio’s right arm indicates his role as a police killer in the gang,” the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.
SENAD identified the other two members of the gang as Mizael Correa Viana and Jonatan Pinheiro Rocha. Authorities also seized weapons and vehicles, according to the Brazilian site Campo Grande News.
Two arrests in three months
According to SENAD, the Paraguayan National Police had previously arrested Marcio and Mizael in Pedro Juan Caballero, in October 2021. “They and three other suspects were in a house with a significant arsenal, which included rifles, pistols, and the group’s communication equipment,” Brazilian news site G1 reported. Both fled and later returned to the border to coordinate drug and arms trafficking along with Jonatan, SENAD said.
“The enduring international cooperation with the PF facilitated the prompt imprisonment of these people,” Minister Rolón said. The three criminals were handed over to Brazilian authorities.
In 2021, coordination between SENAD and PF agents led to the capture of important PCC leaders in the border region. Weslley Neres dos Santos, alias Bebezão; William Meira do Nascimento, alias Bruxo; and Anderson Meneses de Paula, alias Tuca were among them.