Light rain, chirping birds and distant gunfire.

In 1967 The Mamas & the Papas sang some wonderful harmonies about the darkest hour just before dawn

On Saturday I awoke in the half light to light rain, chirping birds and distant gunfire. Second day runnung.
The city is at war with itself. The politicians have completely failed at a federal, state and local level.

Corruption is rife. The poor suffer.
The middle class shrinks
The rich get richer and run away.

This morning – Tuesday – there were shootouts in five favelas just in Zona Sul.

The ‘war’ is complicated. The motivation is power and money through control of territory.
Milicias, Traficantes, Police, Army, Politicians.
Life on the “asphalt” in Zona Sul continues as normal but in the favelas and outside of this bubble and in the burbs it gets a little bit grimmer by the day.
The wife of an aquaintance (admittedly a princess who lives in an ivory tower) refuses to go to or from the airport after dark.
Hold ups and shootouts are a daily occurence but have been all the time I have been here, however now the frequency is intensifying.
What are the powers that be doing about it?
Not a lot.
When will it end?
It won’t until very many problems are solved.
In no particular order
Complete reform and training of the Police forces.
Legalization of Marijuana.
Acceptance of Black people as other than 2nd class citizens
Being poor is not a crime.
Investment in infrastructure in the favelas.
A purge of the old guard politicians who treat Rio de Janeiro as a private fiefdom.
Streamlining and reform of the legal system.

An extraordinary story was published in Globo last week suggesting that Marielle was assassinated by an elite murder squad.
This story has not been touched on by any other publication.
The article gave past history of this group and is a frightening read.
Since Marielle’s execution a Journalist aquainatance of mine with good sources into the mechanisms of power here in Rio told me that she is much more circumspect now about what she publishes.
Freedom to write what one thinks is definitely becoming more difficult as more and more journalists self censure.

Below follows translations from a coouple of Globo articles

Paywalled link
“RIO – In the trail of the investigation of the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco, police discovered the existence of an elite group of killers in Rio.
Formed by police officers and former police officers, among them an active major and a former officer of BOPE,

The group is highly specialized in executions to order, leaving no clues.

The participation of this group, known as the Escritório do Crime, is one of the hypotheses raised by the police to explain the degree of complexity in the
solving of the murders, which are now five months without solution.

The alleged involvement of the Escritório do Crime, in the deaths of Marielle and her driver Anderson Gomes does not negate the main line of investigation so far:
that the executor could be the Orlando de Oliveira Araújo, militiaman, the Orlando de Curicica, who is in the federal prison of Mossoró, in Rio Grande do Norte.
The suspicion is that the group of killers would have assassinated the councilwoman when it was contracted by Curicica, but the police do not rule out the possibility of another principal.
The proliferation of hypotheses involving this crime indicates how much the investigation of these assasinations still struggles to reach a solution.

Police have unconfirmed information that Marielle’s death would have cost about $ 200,000. (approx USD $63,000) ( According to these reports, the gang even asked for more money after the huge repercussion of the case.
The figures are in line with what the murder syndicate would charge: homicide ranges from $ 200,000 to $ 1 million, depending on the profile of the victim and their relevance.

If the involvement of the Escritório do Crime was confirmed, Marielle’s death would be one of their boldest but not their only acts: the gang performs “services” throughout the country and charges a premium
for actions outside Rio. Car journeys, carrying heavy weaponry and ample ammunition, increases its level of exposure.

The main police track to link the Escritório do Crime to Marielle’s execution comes from questioning a member of the gang. Although he denied that he was in Estácio, where the councilwoman was killed, on the
day of the crime, cell phone antennae crossed with a device used by the suspect indicated that he was in place on the day and time of the murder.

Another relevant fact, which reinforces the group’s participation, is that the Cobalt car used by the assassins passed through Itanhangá, before continuing to ambush Marielle.
A local city hall camera spotted the vehicle. On this route lies the Favela of Rio das Pedras, one of the strongholds of the killers.

The professionalism of the Escritório do Crime ends up being their signature, just one of the traces followed by the police. Just as they do not use their personal cell phones (the criminal’s device located by the
police was not in his name), they have the ability to make a prior withdrawal from inside information, such as whether or not security cameras are working.
Because they are police and former PMs, they know the administrative machine well and have a large network of informants.

Even the cloning of the cars is done by members of the gang, who maintain absolute secrecy about the actions. If there is the slightest suspicion that, internally, someone can betray them, the informant is eliminated.

At the head of the group is a former Bope officer. Members of the criminal organization are well-trained and able to spend hours in a car, for example.
That was what happened in the vigilance made while Marielle, on March 14, gave a lecture at the Casa das Pretas, Rua dos Invalides, in Centro, moments before being executed.
To avoid trips to the bathroom, criminals often urinate in bottles in the car itself.
If they are approached by the police, they present the corporation’s portfolio – there is always a PM in the car. If this occurs, abort the mission.

From the Bicho to the militia
The members of the group began acting as bicyclists’ security guards in Rio in the early 2000s, with the mission of securing the power and territories of their bosses.

Shortly thereafter, according to investigations, the former officer of Bope decided to create his team of rental killers, to assassinate the offenders of the offenders.
They would eliminate anyone as long as they paid them well. In the beginning, it was enough to have the description of the car of the victims, time and place, for the execution “service”.

Before long, the pack leader was no longer just a security guard, becoming the owner of his own business, exploiting the Bicho game and the slot machines.
The former officer became a militiaman, expanding his business into the construction sector and even selling gas stolen from Petrobras pipelines in the Baixada Fluminense.
Even so, death by order continued to be the most profitable business. Police assigned to the group dozens of homicides, both in the state and abroad, which remain unresolved.

List of murders without solution.

The murder portfolio assigned by the police to the Office of Crime is extensive.
One of the deaths that would be in the group’s account is that of the president of Portela Samba School, Marcos Vieira de Souza, known as Falcon, 52, in September 2016.
He ran for a seat of councilman for the PP and was executed in his electoral committee, in Oswaldo Cruz, in the North Zone, when his security guards left him alone for a few minutes.
It was long enough for two hooded men to enter the scene and assassinate the candidate with rifle shots to his head.
Neither did the presence of cameras in the place inhibit the action.

Another homicide attributed to the mercenaries is that of the retired PM sergeant Geraldo Antônio Pereira, in the parking lot of a gym in Recreio, in the West Zone, in May 2016.
At the time, the Capital Homicide Office (DH) reported that the main line of investigation was the dispute over the exploitation of slot machines in the region.
Pereira, while on duty, worked as a police officer assigned to the Anti-Sequestering Division (DAS).
In June of last year, the victim was a prostitute and Haylton Carlos Gomes Escafura, 37, the son of the bicheiro José Caruzzo Escafura, the Piruinha.
Once again, the crime was committed by two men who went up to a room on the eighth floor of a hotel in Barra da Tijuca, where the victim and his companion, 27-year-old PM Franciene Soares de Souza, were staying.
All crimes remain unsolved. ”

2nd Article

Five months after the deaths of alderwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL) and driver Anderson Gomes, a line of investigation gains strength:
the crimes may be linked to a group of killers known as the “crime office”.

The group is made up of military police officers, former police officers and militiamen.

In June, the Homicide Division took the testimony of an officer of the Military Police and another suspect in the gang.
The survey of telephone antennas searched the cell phone of one of them, in the same area of the crime, nine days before the murders.

On the night of the crime, on March 14, according to police, the antennas record the two phones used by the suspect in Jacarepaguá, in the West Zone of Rio, where he lives.
In a statement, the suspect denied any involvement in the crime.

He said he did not go through the area where Marielle and Anderson were killed, despite the record of the cell phone antenna the week before the crime.
The day after the deaths, the suspect boarded a flight to Fortaleza.

The locations where the killers car spent hours before the killings are another reason for the police to link the group to the crime.
The gang known as “crime office” has a stronghold: a condominium near the radar that caught the Cobalt silver, on March 14 at 17:34 in Itanhangá.
The vehicle ascended the top of Boavista and passed at 18:02 on the corner of Conde de Bonfim and Uruguaio streets in Tijuca, as RJ2 showed last May.

The Homicide Division even made searches for cameras in this condominium, where the group usually meets to plan the killings.
And there are not a few deaths that may be related to the so-called crime office.

Police suspect the group has participated:
The murder of the president of Portela, Marcos Falcon
From the contraventor Aílton Scafura, in a hotel in Barra da Tijuca
From Marcelo Diotti da Mata, in the parking lot of a restaurant in Barra da Tijuca, just over an hour after the murder of Marielle
The Execution of the retired sergeant of PM Geraldo Antônio Pereira.
The participation of the “crime office” in the death of Marielle removes another line of investigation of the Division of Homicide: the one that clears the responsibility of the militiaman Orlando Oliveira de Araújo, known like Orlando Curicica.
Police sources did not believe Orlando would hire the members of the office because he was very close to Geraldo Antônio Pereira.
The sources also say that he would have sworn viguta to the gang that would have killed his friend.

Marielle – Sempre Presente

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