Brazil police arrest 61 members of organized crime group

June 14, 2018 GMT

SAO PAULO (AP) — Police say they have arrested 61 members Brazil’s biggest and most powerful organized crime group, which they say has been trying to expand into other states and countries.

Police say the arrests of members of the First Capital Command in 14 states were made on Thursday.

The group was founded in 1993 by hardened criminals inside Sao Paulo’s Taubate Penitentiary to pressure authorities to improve prison conditions. It quickly started using its power inside the state’s prisons to direct drug dealing and extortion operations on the outside.

Police say in a statement the command is responsible for instigating violent confrontations with other gangs and for the murder and disappearance of people in several parts of the country.