PF dismantles organization and arrests 59 people


By Hugo Marques, Gazeta Mercantil (Notebook A, Page 9) - 06/05/2005

Brasília, May 5, 2005 - The Federal Police yesterday dismantled the largest criminal organization ever detected in the field of piracy and smuggling. The gang had been moving R $ 360 million per year for at least two decades. The organization has 86 members, 59 of whom had already been arrested by the end of yesterday afternoon.

The PF put 750 men on the streets to arrest the organization in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Mato Grosso and São Paulo. Operation Hydra - reference to Herna's multi-headed snake is due to continue today to arrest all 86 wanted and apprehend 422 vehicles, valued by the PF at R $ 21,1 million. Operation Hydra had the help of the Army in Paraná, which provided logistics and support for PF men. The IRS also participated in the operation.

The gang brought at least five trucks a day of illegal goods from Paraguay. And he paid bribes to 18 public officials, most of whom were arrested yesterday. The fees for releasing seized cargoes reached R $ 50 thousand.

The goods brought by the gang were distributed in the states of São Paulo, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, Pará, Rondônia and Minas Gerais. It was not a trinket. The gang was specialized mainly in expensive goods such as plasma TV, DVD players and video cassettes. The gang also distributed fake drugs, medical and dental equipment.