SAO PAULO – Brazil has more than 50 drug dealers, who are as dangerous as the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar, the justice secretary of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte said.
In an interview with Radio Estadao, Wallber Virgolino said on Monday that Brazil is getting closer to what Colombia used to be in the 1990s, with one serious difference.
While “in Colombia there was one Pablo Escobar, here in Brazil, we have more than 50,” he said.
His comments were in response to the theory that the prison crisis in the country – with 120 inmates killed in riots between rival criminal gangs since 2017 began – may spill onto the streets and whether Brazil is prepared for such a situation.
The state has to be prepared and this confrontation is inevitable, he stressed, adding organized crime in the country is becoming increasingly more structured.
Since the beginning of 2017, the South American country has witnessed the worst prison crisis ever, with rival gang members attacking each other across several jails in the states of Amazonas, Roraima and Rio Grande do Norte.
In the latest incident in a penitentiary in the city of Natal (Rio Grande do Norte), 26 inmates – allegedly linked to the Sindicato do RN gang – were massacred early Sunday in a riot led by members of the rival Primeiro Comando da Capital, the country’s largest criminal group.