AP NEWS

Organized crime boss in Brazil transferred to federal prison

February 14, 2019
FILE - Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, center, is escorted by police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in this Nov 7, 2005 file photo. Officials said Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, that Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, the leader of Brazil's biggest and most powerful organized crime group, has been transferred to a high-security federal penitentiary from a Sao Paulo state prison. (AP Photo/Jorge Santos-AGENCIA ESTADO, File)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The leader of Brazil’s biggest and most powerful organized crime group has been transferred to a high-security federal penitentiary from a Sao Paulo state prison, authorities said Thursday.

The press office of the Sao Paulo state justice department said Marcos Willians Camacho and 21 other leaders of the First Capital Command gang were transferred Wednesday to federal prisons in the capital of Brasilia and two other states in northern Brazil.

Authorities use transfers seeking to sever prisoners’ ties to gang members on the outside.

First Capital Command, widely known by its Portuguese initials PCC, was founded in 1993 by hardened criminals inside Sao Paulo’s Taubate Penitentiary to pressure authorities to improve prison conditions. It quickly started using its power to direct drug dealing and extortion operations on the outside.

Police have said that PCC is responsible for instigating violent confrontations with other prison gangs and for killing or disappearing people in several parts of the country.

The transfer was ordered after a planned PCC breakout was frustrated last year.

Such moves are sometimes followed by violence in Brazilian prisons.

In 2006, PCC unleashed a wave of attacks and prison uprisings in Sao Paulo state that police said was a response to the transfer of several imprisoned PCC leaders.