Armed with weapons of war and supported by an army of 100 sicarios South American contract killers the PCC sent a message with the death of Jorge Rafaat Toumani: from that day on, the border between Brazil and Paraguay belonged to someone else “. This is the episode that the Marked the entry of the PCC into the large international cocaine trade. Today the faction operates in 24 countries and, according to authorities estimates, earns R$ 5 billion per year.
Photo credit: ReproductionThe machine gun that killed Rafaat was installed in a white pickup truck
The assassination of the competitor in June 2016 guaranteed the PCC control over the entire cocaine route, from plantations in Andean countries, mainly Bolivia, to Brazilian ports such as Santos (SP), from where the drug is shipped abroad. It also provided access to marijuana, which was widely produced in Paraguay.
The latest survey by the Public Ministry of São Paulo (MPSP), dated November 2021, shows that the PCC earns more than $1 billion per year (around R$5 billion), without taking into account the private dealings of its executives. In 2005, when the drug trade was still in its infancy, the group was making around R$5 million a year.
Fabio Vieira/MetropolesThe Public Ministry of the State of São Paulo (MPSP) estimates that the PCC brings in $1 billion annually
As the largest cocaine supplier in Europe, the multinational crime group has already expanded its activities to 23 countries in addition to its headquarters in Brazil. In 2012, the PCC only operated occasionally in Bolivia and Paraguay.
There are currently 1,545 baptized members of the PCC working outside Brazilian borders, the “Brothers,” most of them in South America. There are members in the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Lebanon, where a kilo of cocaine has the highest market value.
The murder of Rafaat also marked the intensification of conflicts with Comando Vermelho (CV) and Família do Norte (FDN), with whom the São Paulo faction even made plans for major alliances and are now mortal enemies.
São Paulo’s hegemony on the border is forcing other criminal groups, resistant to the idea of having the PCC as their sole supplier, to look for less profitable alternatives to human trafficking.
The FDN, for example, searches for cocaine in Peru. Unable to cross Paraguay, the faction uses the socalled “Solimões route” to get the drug via the Amazon, transport it to the northeast and only then send it to Rio de Janeiro by “circling” the map “, which represents more risks and more costs.
After the PCC achieved hegemony in the drug trade in São Paulo and gained influence in all Brazilian states, it expanded its business to other countries and became the main supplier of cocaine to Europe.
Prosecutor Lincoln Gakiya of the MPSP, a leading expert on the PCC and “determined” to fight the faction, believes that the PCC’s success in drug trafficking was initially linked to the figure of Rogério Jeremias de Simone, known as Gegê do Mangue, related by Marcola to host its summit in 2002. “It was fundamental to the PCC’s focus on drugs,” he says.
Gegê do Mangue, defendant in more than a dozen murder, drug trafficking and conspiracy trials, left prison in February 2017 through the front door of the Presidente Venceslau 2 prison in inland São Paulo. With Marcola’s blessing, the Bandit was given the goahead to be the PCC’s number 1 on the road.
Gegê received a release permit on the eve of his trial at the Court of Justice of São Paulo (TJSP) with the promise to attend the hearing. It was a lie The criminal was convicted in absentia but never returned to prison.
reproductionGegê was given the job of being the PCC’s number one on the street and steering the faction towards drug trafficking
Investigators believe Gegê fled via Paraguay and then went to Bolivia, where he formed partnerships with coca farmers. By this point, the PCC had already killed Rafaat and dominated the Dry Frontier, the main drug corridor, but wanted to increase shipments to the port of Santos, where most of the cargo destined for Europe leaves.
Through Gegê, the PCC became the only criminal organization in Brazil to buy and resell cocaine from Bolivia, where each family has legal permission to grow up to 1,600 m² of the coca plant. A study by the federal police shows that the country is responsible for the production of 54% of the drugs imported into Brazil. Another 38% come from Peru.
Outside prison, Gegê also found that drug dealers were using the entire structure set up by the PCC to run their own businesses, with no profits returning to the faction. Then he gave the order: Now everything would belong to the “family”. Either the PCC got involved or the parallel program had to be ended.
“Gegê found out that they were using a PCC channel and logistics for private purposes. He banned it. The drug traffickers used suppliers, transportation… And when they lost the drugs, they said [a remessa] was from the PCC. He saw that everyone was stealing, that’s the truth,” says Gakiya.
One of those affected by Gegê’s order was Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos, known as Fuminho, who had been on the run for almost two decades and had become one of the PCC’s largest suppliers of cocaine paste and weapons. He also maintained private sector partnerships with Marcola.
With farms in Bolivia and a client portfolio that ranged from smaller gangs to foreign groups, the international trafficker bristled at the idea of being able to negotiate only with the PCC. “Fuminho dumped about four tons of cocaine a month in the port of Santos,” says Gakiya. In Europe, a kilo of cocaine is worth between R$160,000 and R$530,000 depending on the country, according to European police sources provided to the report.
The head of the PCC in Baixada Santista on the São Paulo coast, drug dealer Wagner Ferreira da Silva, known as Cabelo Duro, made a lot of money from his own schemes and also turned his nose up at the changes. In one of his helicopters, purchased with illegal money, Gegê boarded in February 2018 together with another PCC member, Paca. They were lured into an ambush.
The plan was to bring them back to Bolivia from Ceará, where they were vacationing with their families. Minutes after takeoff, the plane landed in an open clearing on an indigenous reserve in Aquiraz, in Grande Fortaleza. Gegê and Paca were shot there.
The crime would have been ordered by Fuminho. “It is impossible to have two members of the Final Tuning killed without Marcola knowing or not authorizing it,” says Gakiya. “Gegê itself ultimately violated the private financial interests of Marcola, Fuminho and other members who sold in the Baixada. It led to murder.”
The version that Gegê and Paca stole the organization’s money quickly spread a reason that did not convince everyone. PCC leaders and members demanded revenge. The following week, Cabelo Duro was found dead by gunfire at the door of a luxury hotel in the capital São Paulo.
An “ointment” intercepted in Prison 2 of Presidente Venceslau, P2, also claimed the head of Fuminho. He was a personal friend of Marcola and was sentenced to death, but he was “forgiven” and the “decree” was withdrawn by order of the PCC boss.
As of 2019, PCC first and second level executives were sent to solitary confinement in federal prisons.
It didn’t take long for the vacancies at the Final General Tuneup, the top of the organization, to be filled. Rising up the faction’s hierarchy were longtime criminals in the PCC, who were responsible for creating the Law Sector and the cell that plans attacks against authorities.
Eight months after the murders of Gegê and Paca, in October 2018, investigators discovered that Fuminho was personally involved in a plan to rescue Marcola and 14 other faction leaders imprisoned in Presidente Venceslau’s P2. On their farms in Bolivia there was a contingent of assassins who underwent guerrilla training, including even African soldiers, experts in heavy weapons.
The plan was spectacular. A group set fire to trucks to block roads. Another would attack the power station to disrupt the communications signal. Military police battalions would be machinegunned. Everything so that that day only the PCC helicopter flew in the region without the police being able to react. The property was discovered and as a preventive measure the local airport was closed with barriers on the landing and takeoff tracks.
There was reason to take the plan seriously. The previous month, 20 criminals had entered the Piraquara prison in Paraná and rescued 29 PCC prisoners. With the participation of criminals from the faction, there were also violent attacks on cashintransit companies in cities in the interior of the country, in the socalled “Novo Cangaço”, which demonstrated the effectiveness of the PCC.
Photo Credit: Depen/DisclosureIn 2018, 20 criminals entered the Piraquara prison in Paraná and rescued 29 PCC prisoners