Big international drug ring dismantled in Brazil

November 5, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 11/04/2014

Brazil’s Federal Police, in collaboration with security forces of Honduras, Colombia and the United States, dismantled Tuesday an international drug-trafficking and money-laundering ring operating out of Brazil, Venezuela and Honduras, officials said.

The organization was based in Sinop, a municipality in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, where most of the 24 arrest warrants and 25 search-and-capture orders were served, all handed down by the judge investigating the case. The police operation also extended to another three Brazilian states: Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Amazonas.

The police, who began investigating the organization in 2011, estimate that close to a ton of cocaine was shipped every month from the Venezuelan region of Apure, on the Colombian border and dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to Honduras for the purpose of supplying the Mexican drug cartels.

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Remember Brazil’s World Cup Protests?

November 5, 2014

Geoffrey Ramsey – Pan American Post, 10/31/2014

Remember “Não vai ter copa” and the concerns among international media that protests would overshadow the World Cup games this June/July? As it happened, turnout at the demonstrations was far lower than many expected, and the overall legacy of the event was largely unaffected.

But there may have been a reason for that. The initial round of protests in World Cup host cities in the first days of the Cup was met by a harsh crackdown by the state-level Military Police (PM), especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the former, local human rights group Conectas criticized the police for restricting civil liberties and acting as if a “state of emergency” had been declared, and journalists in Rio de Janeiro clearly captured footage of Rio PM officers brandishing guns and firing live ammunition to break up protests.

Considering the disproportionately repressive police response to the demonstrations, it’s no wonder that they failed to gather critical mass. Indeed, this may have been an unspoken part of these states’ security strategy all along.

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Brazil: Counterterror team at Confederations Cup

April 23, 2013

AP/ABC News, 04/22/2013

An officer in the Brazilian army’s counterterrorism division says about 600 soldiers will be taking part in security operations during the upcoming Confederations Cup.

The G1 news website quoted Col. Richard Fernandez Nunes on Monday as saying an additional 250 specialists in identifying threats from chemical, biological and nuclear threats will be also conducting sweeps during the June 15-30 football tournament.

The six Brazilian cities hosting Confederations Cup matches will each be assigned a counterterrorism team. Brazil is also hosting next year’s World Cup, and Nunes says all 12 of the tournament’s host cities will have such teams.

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Brazil safety concerns rise after arrest of police officers and gang rape on bus

April 4, 2013

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 04/02/2013

Brazil‘s efforts to improve public safety ahead of the football World Cup and the Olympics have taken two high-profile hits in recent days with the arrests of eight police officers in São Paulo and news of the rape and robbery of tourists in Rio de Janeiro.

The officers were arrested after a television broadcast showed two teenagers being shot dead on 16 March in the Bras neighbourhood of São Paulo, while the occupants of a nearby patrol car did nothing to help.

One of the victims – a 14 year old known as Piui who collected paper and cardboard from the streets – was shot six times. The other victim, whose name has not been disclosed, was shot 12 times.

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Brazil police can carry weapons for personal use

January 17, 2013

AP/ABC News, 01/16/2013

The Brazilian army has authorized law enforcement officers to carry heavy caliber weapons for personal use, a move critics say could lead to more gun-related violence.

Army spokesman Col. Nador Brandao said Wednesday that state, civilian and highway police officers will be able to buy the weapons to protect themselves. The army has jurisdiction over most law enforcement agencies in Brazil.

Ligia Rechenberg is the coordinator of the Sou da Paz, or “I am for Peace,” violence prevention group. She tells the O Globo newspaper that police will buy weapons “they don’t know how to handle and that puts them and the population at risk.”

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Brazil police banned from giving first aid to victims injured in violent crimes

January 10, 2013

Fox News/AP, 01/09/2012

Police in Brazil’s most populous state can no longer give first aid to victims injured in violent crimes or in shootouts with law enforcement officers.

Sao Paulo State Public Safety Department says in a statement posted on its website that as of Wednesday only emergency response teams and paramedics can provide treatment to victims at the scene of the crime or shootout with police.

Department head Fernando Grella Vieira said the state government enacted the measure “to safeguard the health of victims and guarantee the preservation of the crime scene for forensic investigations.”

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Brazil: states should act on killings by police

November 30, 2012

Human Rights Watch, 11/29/2012

A resolution by Brazil’s Human Rights Defense Council outlines crucial steps needed to reduce unlawful killings by police, Human Rights Watch said today. The resolution calls on law enforcement officials at the state level to ensure that all killings by their police forces are properly investigated.

The council, led by Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário, issued the resolution on November 28, 2012, following a public consultation with government officials, public security experts, and civil society representatives.

“Police officers in many parts of Brazil face real difficulties and dangers when confronting violent crime, and many of them have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, their legitimate efforts to enforce the law have often been undermined by other officers who themselves engage in unlawful violence, executing people and falsely claiming their victims died in shootouts.”

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