An investigation by the Federal Police and the Federal Revenue showed that the largest faction in Rio and another criminal group in São Paulo have been using the Port of Itaguaí, in Sepetiba Bay, to send drugs brought mainly from Peru and Bolivia to Europe. , Africa and even Oceania. The scheme would have the participation of businessmen who, in warehouses near the pier, hide the drugs alongside products in containers that will be exported. Previously, the illicit cargo spends time in Rio’s favelas, a city considered a hub for international trafficking.
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Yesterday, federal agents arrested a suspected member of the criminal organization and executed 25 search and seizure warrants, one day after the Military Police seized 900 kilos of marijuana in Nova Holanda, in Complexo da Maré, which would be on the route for export. The cargo was valued at R$21 million. The investigation into this scheme began with Operation Nephelos, carried out in April 2021, in Itaguaí — long before the implementation of the Guarantee of Law and Order (GLO), which aims to prevent the passage of weapons and drugs through ports and airports in Rio. and São Paulo.
Cocaine in logs
Two years ago, Federal Revenue agents found 342 kilos of cocaine hidden in wooden logs inside a container. It was the first drug seizure at the port, opened in 1982, which caught the attention of the Federal Police. The pier was already the target of investigations, according to Revenue sources, because it was used as a base for smuggling pirated products. Before, drug trafficking used the Port of Rio more to transport drugs.
— They start shipping drugs from one point and, when they realize that the IRS is making seizures, they change the route. That’s what happened in the ports. The ships themselves are not subject to inspection by the IRS, so we have to carry out a prior investigation to locate these products — explained Ewerson Augusto, tax auditor at the Federal Revenue.
The logs filled with cocaine went to Spain and then to Slovenia, via the Adriatic Sea. This route has been used by the Rio faction, but is the target of greed from bandits from São Paulo, who have the alternative of staying in northern Europe. The businessmen who are part of the scheme have also tried to send drugs in loads of mangoes, paint cans, ore, bales of coffee and even frozen birds.
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In almost three years, from 2021 to October 2023, 2.5 tons of cocaine were found by the intelligence sector of the Surveillance and Repression of Smuggling and Embezzlement Division of the Federal Revenue Service in the ports of Rio and Itaguaí. From January to October alone, four operations discovered a ton of cocaine in Itaguaí, an increase of 279% compared to last year. During this period, the actions did not locate weapons smuggling in Itaguaí. However, in the Port of Rio, 1,330 weapons were seized.
To stop this illegal trade, President Lula authorized a Law and Order Guarantee (GLO) operation at the beginning of this month only in ports, airports and the Guanabara and Sepetiba bays. In addition to the military, the PF, Federal Highway Police, Federal Revenue and the Financial Activities Control Council are working to prevent the entry of weapons and drugs into Rio and São Paulo. The president’s decision was taken after the execution of three doctors by militiamen in Barra da Tijuca and the attack on 35 buses, set on fire in Santa Cruz, in the West Zone of Rio.
Chargers by mail
In ten days of GLO, the Navy reported having inspected 505 vessels, six of which were seized for “irregularities”. Additionally, 11 ships and 4,368 vehicles were inspected. The Federal Revenue Service, which had already been inspecting vessels in Guanabara Bay, intensified operations. The other forces did not disclose their balance.
Tom Jobim International Airport, Galeão, is also a focus for GLO because it is used by arms and drug traffickers. Yesterday, the PF arrested a man in Vargem Grande, in the West Zone, who received 29 AK-47 rifle magazines from Poland by mail. The order went through Galeão. According to the Revenue, from January 2021 to October 2023, 2,127 weapons and weapon parts were seized during inspections in the postal shipping sector. In passenger luggage, in the same period, there were 54 kilos of ecstasy, 33 kilos of cocaine and 15 kilos of skunk — valued at R$ 8.3 million by the Federal Revenue Service.