Rio Police Target Justice League Mafia

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Rio de Janeiro police struck a blow against the Justice League, a militia led by jailed ex-politicians, arresting five people, including three former military police officers.

The Justice League (Liga da Justica), is one of the most dangerous militias of the western suburbs of Rio, according to the special anti-organized crime unit (GAECO).

The group, accused of homicides, torture, kidnappings, and extortion, is led by the ex-state deputy Natalino Guimaraes and his brother, the ex-city councilman Jerominho — both jailed in maximum security penitentiary since 2008.

It is largely funded by “taxing” locals for security, and by the provision of illicit public services, such as transport, gas, Internet and TV licenses.

“Operation Pandora” involved 150 officers from the Civil Police, the Combat of Organized Crime Unit and the Security Secretariat of the Rio de Janeiro state. Nine more suspected members of the militia are still at large, including retired members of the military and civil police.

Since the murder of Judge Patricia Acioli in August, the state has been cracking down on militia groups, including the transport mafia blamed for the killing. But the fact that leaders of these organisations are still active from jail, communicating with members of the group and giving orders, is clear evidence of the weakness of the system and raises questions about the effectiveness of such mass arrests.

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