Two High-Profile Kidnappings in Brazil Ordered from Prison

The Brazilian police have strong suspicions that two recent kidnappings, which had international repercussion, were masterminded by the PCC (First Command of the Capital), the same prison gang who has been terrorizing the country with dozens of killings and hundreds of burnings and bullet attacks since May.

One of the abductions involved two employees of Brazilian leading TV network, Globo, reporter Guilherme Portanova and technical aide, Alexandre Calado. Businessman José Fortes Reina was the other victim.

While the Globo’s men were held for a couple of days and released last weekend after Globo aired a three-minute video blasting the inhumane treatement of inmates in Brazilian jails, Reina was held captive for 33 days and he only got his freedom back yesterday (August 16) due to a kidnapper’s blunder.

According to the police, the order for both kidnappings seem to have originated inside the São Paulo prison system. Despite a recent crackdown that confiscated cellphones that were being used by gang bosses behind bars they still continue to give orders, apparently, through visitors, lawyers or prison employees.

The police only found Reina after a police car was attacked by one of the kidnappers when he mistakenly thought the authorities had discovered them. Officers who stormed the place found besides the businessman eight sticks of dynamite.

The explosives, according to the police, were to be used in future attacks against police stations and bank branches. The abductors, however, never got the ramson money they asked to free Reina: 4 million reais (about US$ 2 million). That money should be used to pay the way out of prison for some PCC members.

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