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Rio | Gangbusters 2.0

Motorcycle taxi bears the  logo of the League of Justice -- led by a city councilman and a state deputy

Motorcycle taxi bears the logo of the League of Justice — led until recently by a city councilman and a state deputy

Source: O Globo.

Officers from DRACO, the special investigations unit of the anti-organized crime bureau, are carrying out an operation in various housing tracts of the federal subsidy program “My Home My Life” in an effort to dismantle a criminal gang which engages in illegal real estate transactions related to the federal housing program. …

According to police reports, 27 arrest warrants and 84 search and seizure warrants were issued. Among those sought in the case are nine military police, a state judicial police officer, and an agent of the state secretary of prisons.

As of 7:00 a.m., two suspects had been arrested: A man identified only as Ademir and military police second lieutenant João Henrique Barreto of the 40th Military Police Battalion. Ademir was found at home, in the Ferrara Condominium on Caboclos Highway. He is the condo’s manager [doorman] and is suspected of collecting illegal taxes for a militia that operates in the region. Police captain Luiz Augusto Braga, DRACO commander and coordinator of the operation, noted that Ademir was not a police officer, but is considered to be the third-ranking member of the group in that he collected protection money from other collectors.

Barreto, meanwhile, was in charge of taking and transmitting orders from former military police Ricardo Teixeira da Cruz, aka Batman, who is serving time in a federal prison in Campo Grande, and “Erotic Toni” Ângelo Souza de Aguiar, arrested in 2013. The police say the militia ha operated in Ferrara since 2011. O Globo had already denounced the scheme.

Cruelty and Ultraviolence

The militias expelled families from their apartments in order to resell or rent the units. They also collected irregular fees, such as a surtax of $30 on the light and water bills as well as the famous “gatonet” — pirated cable TV. Residents were also forced to buy basic groceries directly from the gang, at above-market prices: R$220 for grocery baskets worth R$150. When residents did not comply, the enforcers took such belongings as clothing and beat the victims, or even killed them.

Os milicianos expulsavam as famílias dos aparatamentos para revender ou alugar as unidades. Além disso, eles cobravam taxas indevidas, como por exemplo, um valor acrescido de cerca de R$ 30 nas contas de luz e água, além de “gatonet”. Os moradores também eram obrigados a comprar cestas básicas diretamente com a quadrilha, por preços acima do mercado. Os bandidos cobravam R$220 por cestas que valem R$150. Caso os moradores não cumprissem as ordens, ou retornassem para pegar pertences como roupas, eram espancados e até mortos.

The police have no yet announced how many persons were murdered. The group also extorted irregular mototaxis, who paid R$ 350 per week to ply their trade.

A polícia ainda não informou quantas pessoas foram assassinadas. O grupo também extorquia motoristas de transporte alternativo, que eram obrigados a pagar R$350 por semana para circular na região.

— A detail of this criminal activity is that homeowners had a mutual contract with the Caixa Econômica, so when they were expelled, their names still figured as payors of the monthly installment. The criminals sold these properties using fake sale contract. We are also examining this practice because the document was false even as ownership was genuine — said DRACO official Luiz Augusto Braga.

The militia known as the League of Justice has diversified its command structure to impede investigations and lower its profile. Even so, police have shown that after the imprisonment of Toni Ângelo, command was passed on to military police trooper João Henrique Barreto, “The Big Dog,” and Marco José de Lima Gomes, who was arrested last Tuesday by the Homicide Division.

The gang is extraordinarily cruel: It is charged with murder, torture, robbery, grievous bodily harm and concealment of cadavers.

Operation Tentacle began at 6 a.m. this morning and consists of 350 state judicial police … spearheaded by DRACO-IE, the operation is supported by SSINTE, the intelligence arm of the state prosecutor’s office, the state police, the [Unified Internal Affairs] department and its member components, the state prison system …

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