MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s drug enforcement agency on the weekend captured Brazilian drug trafficker Jose Paulo Vieira de Mello, one of the most wanted men in the neighboring country and by Interpol, police said Sunday.
Vieira De Mello, who was also being sought by Paraguayan law enforcement, was arrested Saturday in Carrasco, on the outskirts of Montevideo, where he had been living under a false identity for two years, officials with the police’s Anti-drug Directorate said.
According to the daily El Pais, the arrested man – who has already been turned over to the judiciary – headed an organization of drug traffickers with links in Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil that was connected with kingpin Fernandinho Beira Mar, of the well-known Comando Vermelho (Red Command) organized crime group in Rio de Janeiro.
A high-priority international arrest warrant issued by Interpol had been outstanding against Vieira de Mello and he was being watched by anti-drug police, sources said.
The evidence gathered by police indicates that Vieira de Mello was going to buy a luxury property under his false name, Paulo Seco, but alarm bells started to go off when authorities discovered that the suspect was getting ready to leave the country for an unknown destination.
The discovery spurred authorities to arrest him, a move that was ordered by Jorge Diaz, a judge specializing in prosecuting organized crime figures.
The daily said that along with Vieira, authorities arrested his wife, who is of Paraguayan nationality. His three children, two of them quite young, are also in custody.