By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Four years after a group of Rio police officers were arrested for kidnapping two alleged drug traffickers for R$300,000 ransom, Judge Ana Paula Monte Figueiredo Pena Barros condemned ex-Lieutenant-Colonel Dayzer Corpas Maciel to twenty years in prison, and the other defendants to sentences ranging from 11 to 24 years.
According to charges made by the Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (GAECO) of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and by the Public Prosecutor’s Office on March 16th, 2014, Policia Militar (PM, or military police) extorted traffickers from the Morro do Dendê on Ilha do Governador (Governor’s Island) and Senador Camará in Zona Oeste (West Zone).
At the time of the crime, the PMs boarded a vehicle with five armed traffickers carrying AK-47 rifles, several pistols and grenades. The two kidnapped were alleged drug traffickers belonging to the criminal faction Terceiro Comando Puro (TCP, or Pure Third Command).
The now-condemned PMs received R$300,000 from the TCP gang to free the arrested traffickers. The police also seized three rifles and later resold them to traffickers from the same criminal organization, according to Agencia Brasil.
In 2013 the military police in Rio were found to be Brazil’s most corrupt police force, according to the National Victimization Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Program for Development. That was before the state’s financial crisis led to late payment of already low salaries.
In June 2017, Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro executed Operation Calabar, aimed at the arrest of 96 military police (PM) officers and seventy traffickers and other criminals suspected of being part of a corruption scheme in São Gonçalo, in the metropolitan region of the state.
Authorities said at the time it was the largest corruption case in history involving the military police and drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro.