SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The Federal Police on Wednesday launched an operation to dismantle a criminal organization that planned to carry out attacks, such as homicides and extortion through kidnapping, against Senator Sergio Moro (União-PR) and other public authorities, the PF reported. and the Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flávio Dino.
The minister said at a press conference that the organization aimed to attack Moro and judicial authorities, such as a São Paulo state prosecutor and members of the police forces and penitentiary system of several states.
“There was ongoing planning for the execution of violent actions, with several targets. A prosecutor from the State of São Paulo, who was the original target from which the investigation was born… authorities of the penitentiary systems of several States, members of the police of several States and also, today, the Senator of the Republic Sergio Moro”, Dino told reporters .
A government minister with knowledge of the investigations told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, that the plan was organized by the criminal faction Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) and was not politically motivated.
In an interview with GloboNews, Moro linked the attacks by organized crime to his work at the head of the Ministry of Justice during part of the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro.
“We had an extremely efficient confrontation against organized crime. Even today’s actions constitute retaliation,” Moro told GloboNews, reporting that during his term there were confiscations of goods and assets from criminal organizations, transfers of organized crime leaders to federal prisons and actions to block communication between detainees and the government. outside.
The senator also took advantage of the interview to announce that he filed a bill that aims to “improve legislation” to give more rigor to actions such as the PF this Wednesday. One of the fronts of the matter is aimed at increasing the safety of judges, prosecutors and police involved in the fight against crime.
“We are also there (in the project) foreseeing the creation of specific crimes to punish those acts of planning attacks against public authorities, because as we saw today, the police acted. These people will respond according to the law”, he said, explaining that the current legislation does not criminalize the planning of actions of this type.
Also present at the interview, the senator’s wife, deputy Rosângela Moro (União-SP), stated that this was not the first time that she and her husband were targets of threats, but not with this proportion.
“Of this scale, of being involved in organized crime, drug trafficking, the PCC … it was the first time”, reported the deputy.
Under Moro’s then command, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security coordinated in February 2019 the transfer of 22 prisoners, including PCC leaders, such as Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho, known as Marcola, from São Paulo to the federal penitentiary system. The prisoners were transferred to a federal unit in Porto Velho, in Rondônia, with the aim of isolating the leaders to facilitate the confrontation with the criminal organization.
In March of the same year, the ministry announced the transfer of four prisoners, including Marcola, from Porto Velho to a federal unit in Brasília, as a measure of “alternation of shelter for highly dangerous detainees”, and mentioned that the action was complementary to the operation of the previous month.
In a post on Twitter after the outbreak of the operation this Wednesday, Moro cited “the PCC’s retaliation plans against me, my family and other public agents”. The senator stated that he will make a statement in the Senate this afternoon on the subject and thanked the PF, the Military Police of Paraná and São Paulo and the police of the Chamber and of the Senate.
According to the PF, 24 search and seizure warrants, seven preventive arrest warrants and four temporary arrest warrants were issued under the so-called Sequaz Operation. The actions involved 120 police officers in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Rondônia and São Paulo.
The PF also said that the attacks could occur simultaneously, with most of those being investigated in São Paulo and Paraná.
The Minister of Justice rejected that a statement by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in an interview on Tuesday, in which he said that he thought of taking revenge on Moro during the period in which he was imprisoned by order of the then judge, could have any relationship with the case now investigated by the PF and said it was frivolous to make any political association with the situation.
“Any association with Brazilian politics is vile, frivolous and inappropriate. I am amazed at the level of bad character of anyone trying to politicize a serious investigation… so serious that it was carried out in defense of the life and integrity of a senator in opposition to our government”, said Dino.
“You cannot take yesterday’s statement in isolation … and link it to an investigation that is months old.”
(Reporting by Fernando Cardoso and Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Additional reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia)
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