Cocaine kingpin nabbed in Mozambique

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A top Brazilian cocaine trafficker was arrested in Mozambique, officials in both countries said, underlining the growing global footprint of the First Capital Command (PCC) gang, Brazil’s most powerful criminal organisation.

Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos, aka “Fuminho,” was on the run for more than 20 years until his capture in Maputo on Monday. He was one of Brazil’s “most-wanted” fugitives, Brazil’s federal police said .

“The prisoner was considered the largest supplier of cocaine to a gang operating throughout Brazil, as well as sending tonnes of the drug to several countries,” the statement said.

Originally a prison gang in Sao Paulo, the PCC spread across Brazil and is increasingly moving cocaine to Europe and Africa.

In March, Reuters reported Brazil is one of the top suppliers of cocaine to Europe, transforming the country’s role in the trans-Atlantic drug trade.

Leonardo Simbine, a spokesman for Mozambique’s Criminal Investigations Services, told Reuter local police were tipped off by Interpol that dos Santos entered the country in mid-March.

“We did our investigations and found him at a luxury hotel in Maputo. We arrested him with accomplices, two Nigerian citizens,” Simbine said.

On his way to the maximum security prison where he is being held, dos Santos refused to answer questions from the press. “Talk to my lawyer,” he said.

Brazil has 40 days to submit an extradition request, Simbine said, adding dos Santos is being held on charges of drug possession and using a false passport.

In its statement, Brazil’s federal police said the operation to catch dos Santos involved the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice and Mozambique police.

The Brazilian federal police accuse dos Santos of allegedly financing a rescue plan for PCC boss Marcos Willians Camacho, or “Marcola,” in federal jail in Brasilia. The alleged plan prompted Brazilian authorities to heighten security at the jail, the statement said.

Local media report dos Santos was Camacho’s “right-hand man.”