Prison Gang PCC Turns 13, Afraid Brazil Police Go on Red Alert

The PCC (First Command of the Capital), the prison gang that has been terrorizing São Paulo since May, is turning 13 this August 31.

To guarantee that their celebrations don’t become another blood bath for the police and residents of São Paulo, the Military Police have reinforced its contingent for the night of Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Commander Elizeu Eclair announced that the number of policemen on patrol should triple and the reinforcement should be kept until Sunday.

Since in previous years the criminal group has celebrated its anniversary with coordinated criminal actions in the streets and inside prisons, the police wish to be ready. 

In an open letter to the population São Paulo authorities have asked people to not change their routine for fear that something might happen. They also ask that any suspicious activity should be denounced calling 181. 

"Furloughs and vacations have not been suspended," said Eclair. "What has been suspended is the bureaucracy. All policemen will take part in the  operation." 

Talking about the attacks that happened Tuesday night, in the city of São Paulo, the Military Police chief said that they were probably not the work of the PCC. 

"The attacks in the capital don’t have the gang’s modus operandi. They usually throw Molotov cocktails or explosive artifacts at bank agencies. In the two cases registered last night, the criminals entered the branch to set it on fire," he said.

Marco Antonio Desgualdo, São Paulo’s Civilian Police chief, is also ready for possible attacks in the coming hours and days. He mentioned pamphlets distributed by the PCC in which they announce actions "in a scale not yet seen."

"We need to be on the alert," Desgualdo said while informing that more civilian police will also be on the streets.

The PCC started on August 31, 1993, in a prison of Taubaté, a city in the interior of São Paulo. Their main goals at the time were to "fight oppression" and avenge the death of 111 prisoners, who were massacred by the police on October 2, 1992, after a riot in the Carandiru penitentiary in São Paulo.

The gang has grown substantially in these 13 years and changed leadership several times. In 2001, Sombra (Shadow) the big boss of that time was able to coordinate by cell phone a simultaneous riot in 29 prisons.

He was beaten to death, four month later, in a fight for control of the group. Geleião and Cesinha, the ensuing leaders, allied themselves with Rio’s gang Comando Vermelho (Red Command), the main group connected to drug trafficking in that city.

Nowadays, the boss is Marcola a bank robber and an intellectual, famous for the hundreds of books he has read. The PCC survives on drug dealings and fees charged from its members: those in prison pay about US$ 25 a month, and the ones in liberty have to contribute with US$ 250 every month. The money pays for guns and drugs, but for lawyers and help to those in any kind of predicament.

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