Dozens Of Members Of Brazil’s Largest Gang Escape From Prison
Dozens of members of Brazil’s largest gang have escaped from prison using an escape tunnel leading out of a Paraguayan jail.
The gang members were among 75 ‘highly dangerous’ prisoners who broke free on Sunday, January 19, the Brazilian government has confirmed.
They escaped from the Pedro Juan Caballero prison in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero near the Brazilian border. The majority of the escapees are said to belong to the Brazilian gang Primer Comando Capital (First Capital Command), also known as the PCC.
Authorities have since found a tunnel they believe was used in the escape, as well as up to 20 bags of earth in prison cells.
The tunnel was carefully hidden to avoid detection, however Minister of Justice Cecilia Perez told reporters:
This was not the work of one man alone and was not done in a day. It is impossible that nobody knew anything, it cannot be that nobody saw anything.
Images show a prison cell packed with bags of dirt reportedly excavated in the digging of the tunnel. Some reports state 91 prisoners participated in the escape although 16 were captured as they were leaving the tunnel.
Authorities are not ruling out the possibility that many of the missing prisoners may also have walked out of the prison’s main exit with the complicity of the guards.
Prison director Christian Gonzalez and the facility’s security chiefs have been fired and arrested, according to reports.
Local media report that the Public Ministry suspects prison staff may have participated in the prison break and at least 28 prison guards have been detained, with prosecutor Reinalda Palacios saying ‘they will all be investigated and there could be more arrested’.
Palacios confirmed 50 prisoners from the prison’s upper floor and 25 from the lower floor escaped in the incident.
The PCC is considered the largest drug and arms trafficking gang in Brazil, and reports state five pickup trucks used by the prison breakers were found burnt out in Ponta Pora on the Brazilian side of the border.
Paraguay’s National Police have launched a hunt for the escapees, among whom are inmates who participated in a massacre that left 10 inmates dead on June 16 last year.
The Brazilian authorities in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul have issued an alert, with state police and armed forces working to find and arrest the fugitives.
The investigation into the incident and the search for the prison breakers is ongoing.
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