The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Gangs in Brazil are launching highly coordinated hit and run attacks on small-town banks, demonstrating new levels of organization and sophistication.
Paraguay's top anti-drugs official has admitted that Brazilian organized crime groups have permanent presence in some strategic drug trafficking and production areas of the country, confirming the extent of the Brazilian criminal migration to its ill-prepared neighbor.
Reporters Without Borders' latest ranking of world press freedom highlights how the impact of organized crime on Latin American media not only affects the countries most closely associated with drug trafficking, but is also now on the rise in countries such as Paraguay and Brazil.
A battle for control of a favela between members of the Terceiro Comando Puro and Comando Vermelho offers a perfect illustration of the nature of criminal control and gang conflict in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While it is popular to conceptualize violence in the city as the result of battles between rival criminal groups and police, battles for local criminal dominance are also key.
The Pure Third Command (Terceiro Comando Puro - TCP) can be traced back to a split from the Red Command prison gang in the mid-1980s. While it is not as dominant as its rivals in that gang or in Amigos dos Amigos, it is considered Rio's third most powerful street gang.
Police in Paraguay have arrested three Brazilians after finding a cache of high-powered firearms, in a case highlighting both the migration of Brazil's criminals and Paraguay's importance as an arms trafficking corridor.
Brazil's military police have killed six people in response to a gang assault against a Rio de Janeiro Police Pacification Unit, as the city's "pacification" program wavers in the face of regrouping gangs and a lack of progress in resolving social problems.
On January 4, the capital of Maranhao, Brazil, suffered a wave of coordinated attacks on buses and police stations, ordered by a local prison gang. The death of a 6-year-old girl in the attacks, along with evidence of the execrable conditions within Maranhao's prisons, including a gruesome video of beheaded prisoners, reports of rape of visiting family members, and signs that further inmate violence is imminent, have all drawn international attention.
A national body to combat human trafficking has been set up in Brazil as part of a new strategy aimed at tackling the crime; but without much needed changes in the law, slave labor in the country will continue to flourish.
Brazil's efforts to combat drug trafficking and organized crime by reinforcing border security have not been effective enough, say police, highlighting the difficulty of securing a massive border that touches all of the continent's major drug producers.