By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Police in Rio de Janeiro state announced they have arrested the man said to have ordered the prison rebellions in the state of Goiás at the beginning of the year. The riots resulted in nine deaths, dozens injured and hundreds escapees.
Stephan de Souza Vieira, known as BH, was arrested in a luxury apartment in Cabo Frio, in the state of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday afternoon. Vieira escaped from the Aparecida de Goiania prison complex in November of 2017 but continued to act as one of the leaders of the Comando Vermelho (Red Command) criminal faction in the state of Goias.
According to authorities, at the beginning of the year Vieira gave the order for gang members to attack rival gang inmates at the prison. The first riot, which occurred on January 1st, left nine dead inmates, two of which were beheaded, and fourteen injured.
More than 100 other inmates escaped during the riot, many of whom have yet to be recaptured by authorities. Two other smaller riots occurred the following days, but were quickly ended by police.
Brazilian Federal Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Carmen Lúcia Antunes Rocha, is expected to visit the prison on Monday to discuss prison conditions in the state. She is expected to meet with Goias’ governor, Marconi Perillo, and newly appointed general director of Penitentiary Administration for the state of Goias, Edson Costa.
Costa, appointed last week to the post, said he would be conducting structural changes in the state’s prison system, including better living conditions for inmates and harsher punishment for those inciting riots and rebellions.
“We want a pacified prison system with humanized conditions to re-socialize inmates,” stated the director general during his first press conference. He also said what steps will be taken to restore effective prison security officers and the necessary arsenal for prison security officers to work effectively and safely.