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Brazil authorities clamp down on criminal gang targeting public officials

Brazil authorities clamp down on criminal gang targeting public officials
Federal police serve number of warrants, with 9 arrests made

By Bala Chambers

BUENOS AIRES (AA) - Federal police in Brazil launched an operation Wednesday aimed at dismantling a criminal organization that authorities say intended to carry out attacks against a number of public officials.

According to authorities, the criminal gang was planning to carry out crimes such as homicide and extortion through kidnappings in at least five states -- Rondônia, Paraná, Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo.

Brazil's state news agency Agencia Brasil said 120 federal officers served 24 search-and-seizure warrants, seven preventative arrest warrants and four temporary arrest warrants in Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondônia, São Paulo and Paraná.

Nine people have also been arrested, but none of the suspects have been named.

According to a press release from Brazil's Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Sergio Moro, who previously served as a federal judge presiding over corruption trials including the “Operation Car Wash” scandal, which led to the arrest of then former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was named as one of the targets.

On Twitter, Moro thanked authorities "for their support and work" and promised to make a public declaration.

Another target would have been Sao Paulo prosecutor Lincoln Gakiya, according to the press release.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino spoke to the media, saying the authorities are still carrying out investigations.

“The federal police will only be able to conclude this in a few weeks. We still do not know the criminal organization’s principal motive," he said.

Dino noted, however, that it was likely retaliation against public officials such as Moro and other authorities.

"It was retaliation and obviously an act of intimidation in relation to all public authorities, that is, an action that has a terrorist edge in the sense of intimidating the state apparatus through retaliation against a number of public agents,” he added.

source: News Feed
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