First Capital Command (PCC) News

From Black Serpents to PCC: A Brazil Gang Myth Turned Nightmare

From Black Serpents to PCC: A Brazil Gang Myth Turned Nightmare

Thirty years ago, an alleged criminal organization called the Black Serpents -- whose existence was never proven -- was used to justify the government’s decision to halt the implementation of a more humane policy in São Paulo’s prisons. What followed was increased repression and the 1992 Carandiru prison massacre, which left 111 inmates dead. And then came the PCC prison... Read More

PCC Profile

First Capital Command - PCC

First Capital Command - PCC

The First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) was inspired by the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Both criminal organizations were formed by prisoners as self-protection groups in Brazil’s brutal prison system. The PCC arose in São Paulo in the 1990s, and has fought a bloody ongoing feud with police in the city. The group, now the largest and best-organized criminal organization in Brazil, is believed to have members in two-thirds of the country's states, and controls drug trafficking routes between Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Read More

More First Capital Command (PCC) News

  • From Black Serpents to PCC: A Brazil Gang Myth Turned Nightmare

    The site of the infamous Carandiru Massacre

    Thirty years ago, an alleged criminal organization called the Black Serpents -- whose existence was never proven -- was used to justify the government’s decision to halt the implementation of a more humane policy in São Paulo’s prisons. What followed was increased repression and the 1992 Carandiru prison massacre, which left 111 inmates dead. And then came the PCC prison gang.

  • Negotiating with Brazil's Prison Gangs: Short-Term Fix, Long-Term Problem

    A deadly riot in southern Brazil illustrates how inhumane prison conditions and powerful prison gangs create an explosive situation, which authorities are sometimes tempted to resolve by negotiating with gangs like the First Capital Command (PCC).

  • Internal Displacement in Brazil: An Inconvenient Truth?

    As Brazil works to project the image of a nation that is effectively addressing security challenges in its major cities, one important indicator -- internal displacement -- is being overlooked. 

  • Inside the 'Cracklands' of Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

    Brazil is currently the second biggest consumer market for cocaine and its derivatives in the world, after the United States. Coca paste and crack are sold in bulk and at a very low price in the so-called "cracklands" of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The Dromomanos collective, winner of the Ortega y Gasset Journalism Awards, brings us into the darkest corners of the country that consumes 18 percent of drugs produced globally.

  • Paraguay's Marijuana Trade: The Bitter Green Smell of the Red Land

    It is here that half of South America's marijuana is produced. There are narcos present in the elections, airplanes with Bolivian cocaine land on clandestine airstrips and revenge attacks are carried out for drug trafficking accusations. This is Paraguay, the second biggest producer of cannabis after Mexico. And this is a portrait of the country, from the perspective of Dromomanos, the 2014 winner of the Ortega y Gesset Journalism Awards.

  • Leaders of Brazil's PCC Gang Fled to Paraguay: Police

    Police in Paraguay say they believe high-ranking members of Brazil's PCC criminal organization have fled Brazilian justice and relocated to Paraguay to plan further crimes, an indication of the extent to which the group sees the country as a safe haven and base of operations.

  • Police Investigations Show Structure, International Expansion of Brazil's PCC

    Police in Brazil say two top leaders of the PCC criminal organization run financial operations out of Paraguay and the United States, information that sheds light on the inner workings and international expansion of what began as a Sao Paulo prison gang.

  • Soccer and Security in Brazil: Organized Crime in Manaus

    Both the England and United States soccer teams are set to play World Cup matches in the steamy Amazon city of Manaus in north Brazil, where two notorious drug gangs are slugging it out for control of cocaine trafficking routes.

  • Arrest of Key Operative Points to Growing PCC Presence in Paraguay

    Authorities in Paraguay have arrested an alleged key member of Brazil's PCC gang, shedding light on the organization's growing operations in the border region between the two countries.

  • Bolivia Hunt for 'Mega Gangs' Highlights Foreign Criminal Presence

    Authorities in Bolivia are going after five criminal "mega gangs" that include foreign members, underscoring the country's status as a destination for migrating criminals and threat this poses to security.