At least 115 detained in Brazil’s nationwide operation against organized crime
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 16 -- At least 115 people were arrested on Thursday in Brazil after the conclusion of a countrywide operation against criminal gangs and corrupt government agents linked to organized crime, the police said. Joint operations were undertaken simultaneously in the states of Acre, Amapa, and Amazonas in the north; Alagoas, Bahia, Ceara, and Pernambuco in the northeast; Mato Grosso do Sul in the central west; and Rio de Janeiro in the southeast. More than 300 search and seizure warrants were served. The operation was organized by the National Group to Combat Criminal Organizations (GNCOC), which targets criminal factions throughout various regional public ministries, with support from the federal police. "The confrontation was against those criminal factions which had some type of interaction. It doesn't work at all to dismantle a group in one place when it has another cell somewhere else," public prosecutor Alfredo Gaspar de Mendonca, president of the GNCOC, said at a press conference. "The crime, unfortunately, has become nationalized," Gaspar de Mendonca said, confirming that the aim of the operation was to target the financial nucleus of these groups. In the capital of Rio de Janeiro, at least nine police officers were accused of selling weapons and drugs as well as receiving bribes from traffickers. The military justice suspended their duties but did not arrest them. In other states, operations focused mainly on members of the First Command of the Capital, the largest criminal organization in Brazil, and its allied organizations.