25 dead: in Brazil, the organized crime group “Red Team” entered into battle with the police
In Rio de Janeiro, 25 people were killed in a shootout near the metro
In Jacaresinho, a northern suburb of Rio de Janeiro, 25 people were killed in a shootout near the Triagem metro station on the morning of May 6. The incident took place during a police operation by an anti-narcotics squad that intended to detain gang members accused of murder, robbery and other serious crimes.
Members of the organized crime group tried to escape on the rooftops when the police drove into the favelas in armored vehicles, and helicopters flew over their heads, these footage was shown by local TV channels.
Among the dead – 45-year-old police officer Andre Frias, he was shot in the head, all the other 24 dead – members of the criminal organization Comando Vermelho (“Red Team”). In addition, 10 gang members were arrested.
Also, two metro passengers were injured, they were hospitalized and their lives are not in danger. In total, about 200 law enforcement officers took part in the operation, of which two more were also wounded and taken to the hospital.
“This is the highest number of deaths in a police operation in Rio, exceeding 19 killed during the 2007 operation in the Complexo do Alemão slums. But then we did not lose any of ours, “- quotes Reuters as the words of the chief of the local police Ronaldo Oliveira.
Measures to capture gang members took place in several blocks of the area, local residents posted a video showing the movements of police officers between the huts of the poor, and explosions, presumably grenades, are heard, portal G1 reports.
Since last June, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) has suspended slum operations during the pandemic. Exceptions are allowed only in “absolutely exceptional cases”.
“The decision to carry out the operation was based on accurate intelligence information [about the gang's activities]. The criminals reacted sharply [to the actions of the police], they tried not only to run away, but to kill the law enforcement officers, ”the Rio de Janeiro state police said in a comment.
The department also expressed condolences in connection with the death of one of their colleagues.
“Unfortunately, the scenario of the war imposed by these gangs proves the importance of conducting operations to prevent the strengthening of criminal organizations,” the message says.
One resident posted a photo of a blood-stained floor in his house and said that the police shot two criminals who, while fleeing, broke into other people's houses.
The man, who did not want to be named, said his family would try to leave the area as soon as possible. “We are trying to sell the house as quickly as possible, we cannot continue to live here,” he said.
Other residents said officers confiscated their phones, accusing them of warning gang members of the raid.
The citizens said that they could not leave the house almost all morning, for example, the bride barely made it to her own wedding.
“I'm desperate. We woke up under fire. I was going to paint at home. My wedding was scheduled for 9 am, ”laments the girl, who has been engaged for two years.
Despite the shooting, the bride at one point managed to leave the house, and she arrived at the registry office a few minutes before the start of the wedding.
A pregnant woman who was scheduled for a caesarean section did not see a doctor as the local family clinic, Anthidio Dias da Silveira, had to be temporarily closed. The work of two COVID-19 vaccination points was also suspended.
Jacaresinho is considered the base of Comando Vermelho. The area is predominantly flat in terms of relief, full of lanes and surrounded by barricades set up by criminals, which, for example, makes it difficult for an armored vehicle to access.
Comando Vermelho is mainly involved in arms and drug trafficking, robbery and kidnapping. She recruits minors from local residents of poor areas into her ranks.
The group, originally known as Falange Vermelha (Red Phalanx), was formed in 1979 as an alliance between ordinary convicts and left-wing fighters who were imprisoned together during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship in the country.
In the early 1980s, the group changed its name to Comando Vermelho and is believed to have abandoned its far-left political ideology.
The organized crime group controls some areas of Rio de Janeiro and has participated in several small conflicts (in 2001 and 2004) with the rival gang Terceiro Comando (translated from Portuguese as “Third Command”), which itself arose as a result of power struggles between the leaders of Comando Vermelho in the mid-1980s.
The organization is a set of independent cells, and does not have a strict hierarchy, but the leaders of the organized criminal group Luis Fernando da Costa and Isaia da Costa Rodrigues cement all the scattered groups at the very top.
According to the civilian police, the criminals have created a “typical military structure” in the region, armed with rifles, pistols, grenades, vests and even camouflage clothing for police and other civil servants.
It is worth noting that Comando Vermelho strives to attract Brazilian youth into its ranks, including through sponsorship of sports associations and clubs, as well as by organizing sports events.
In addition, the organized crime group allocates funds for funky music festivals “to recruit young children for the drug trade,” police said.