Investigation and Analysis of Organized Crime

Red Command News

Northern Brazil Prison Massacre Suggests Shifting Criminal Dynamics

A gruesome prison massacre in northern Brazil has raised serious questions about potential shifts in criminal alliances in a highly strategic region of this South American...

Illegal Cigarettes Increasing Presence in Brazil and Southern Cone

Argentina, Chile and Brazil are struggling with increased demand for smuggled cigarettes, as these provide major revenue for criminal groups and result in massive tax losses for...

Brazil Prisons Become Battlegrounds for Familia do Norte Civil War

A turf war among the founders of Familia do Norte, northern Brazil’s most powerful crime group, has left dozens of prisoners dead and will have major implications for criminal...

‘Volunteer’ Inmate Program Highlights Brazil Prison Crisis

A so-called voluntary work program in Rio de Janeiro prisons has highlighted long-term problems within Brazil’s crumbling penitentiary system, a breeding ground for some of the...

Red Command Profile

Graffiti bearing the Red Command's initials

Red Command

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 crimes like muggings and bank robberies, 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 marginalized...