Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Brazilian gang threatens World Cup terror attacks

AFP, SAO PAULO, Brazil

A feared organized crime syndicate based in Brazil has threatened to launch terror-style attacks during the World Cup and presidential elections next year, a daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The so-called First Command of the Capital gang, which is led from inside prisons in Sao Paulo State, vowed to unleash a “World Cup of terror” if its chiefs are transferred and isolated in other jails, it said.

The O Estado de Sao Paulo daily’s story followed its revelation last week of details of an extensive report by prosecutors on the activities of the group, which is better known by its shortened moniker, the PCC.

“The threats extend to 2014, when they are promising a ‘World Cup of terror’ and attacks during the presidential elections,” it said.

However, the commander of Sao Paulo state’s military police, Colonel Benedito Meira, said that while some criminals have been wiretapped discussing the World Cup, there was no intelligence report of a “real threat” during a sporting event.

The PCC, as described in the prosecutors’ report, is a huge organization with separate divisions to coordinate the drug trade, commit crimes, provide legal defense to its members and manage its finances.

The syndicate, which has more than 11,000 members, including 6,000 behind bars, also operates in Paraguay and Bolivia, it added.

The prosecutors called for 175 PCC members who are currently free to be incarcerated. They are also demanding tougher jail conditions for 32 others currently held, including the entire leadership, in Presidente Venceslau in Sao Paulo State.

The report grew out of more than three years of investigation and was based on documents, witnesses’ testimonies and wiretaps.

The PCC was blamed for a wave of violence that left more than 300 people dead, including police, late last year.

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