The Red Command (Comando Vermelho) is Brazil’s oldest criminal group, created in a Rio de Janeiro prison in the 1970s as a self-protection group for prisoners. It started out with low-level crime like muggings and bank robbery, but in the 1980s the group moved into the cocaine trade, working with Colombian drug cartels and taking on a social leadership role in many of Rio’s favelas.
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.