Data from the Ministry of Justice for the state of Espírito
Santo show rates of homicide that exceed 50 per 100,000 inhabitants
and rates of violent crime higher than 100 per 100,000. Organized
crime relies on impunity and on corruption in the legal system,
such as unfinished trials of various "contract crimes".
During the past year, crimes against life, particularly homicides,
rose by 11.2%, from 1,572 in 2001 to 1,771 in 2002. These
deaths are, in large part, executions carried out by gunmen
or by the police.
organized crime in the state
second half of last year marked the beginning of a series
of special federal measures to combat organized crime in the
state of Espírito Santo, after repeated confirmation
that the level of degeneration of public institutions in the
state had gone beyond what could be tolerated by society.
governmental actions against organized crime in Espírito
Santo include preventing violence and impunity, in the face
of growing criminality, like in situations of civil war, as
well as fighting against corruption in the legal system, such
as unfinished trials of various "contract crimes"
and denunciations of involvement of governmental officials
with criminal groups1.
problems have been raised by human rights organizations that,
over the last two decades, have received death threats2.
These organizations created the Campaign Against Impunity,
launched by the National Human Rights Movement (MNDH) in 1993,
which introduced the problem to society and presented it officially
to the Defense Council for Human Rights (CDDPH) of the Ministry
q The creation of the Permanent Forum against Violence and
Impunity - Espírito Santo Reacts, in 1999, which unites
more than 50 human rights organizations.
q The work of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI),
of the Federal Congress, on drug trafficking and organized
q The request for federal intervention in the state of Espírito
Santo by the Order of Attorneys (OAB), in 2002.
q The creation, by the federal government, of the Special
Mission to Fight Organized Crime, in 2002.
The Special Mission to Fight Organized Crime
order to investigate the so-called Espírito Santo mafia,
the Special Mission was created in a turbulent context that
involved the electoral interests of 2002. It was created in
July 2002 and its 192 members - people from various federal
agencies - were to produce a report in just 90 days of activity,
a timeframe that was extended due to the volume of work and
insufficient resources available.
its first year, the Mission ran into many difficulties, among
them the opposition of some of its own members. First, there
was the revelation of a police link to a criminal organization
in July 2002, when Inspector João Adilson Scalfoni,
then-Superintendent of the Federal Highway Patrol (a member
organization of the Special Mission), was dismissed from his
job for having been a member of Scuderie Detetive Le Cocq
(a vigilante paramilitary organization).
second was the execution of the Mission's first prisoner,
defendant Manoel Correia da Silva Filho, witness against Chief
of the Military Police Walter Gomes Ferreira, who is considered
the head of the armed wing of organized crime in the state.
The prisoner had been held by the Federal Police since August
2002 and was transferred to the Monte Libano prison, without
justification, in November 2002, where he was executed. This
fact led to the dismissal of the federal delegate Tito Caetano,
who coordinated the Mission.
March 2003, when the battle against the criminal organizations
was reaching significant proportions, there was the assassination
of the judge of the Unit of Criminal Executions, Alexandre
Martins de Castro Filho, a courageous member of the Special
Mission. The judge's death indicated the audacity of the criminals
and the establishment of a new level of confrontation which
demanded more complex strategies. Moreover, several members
of the commission and other collaborators had their phones
tapped, received death threats, and/or were otherwise harassed.
spite of the difficulties, the Special Mission has produced
important results, including: large-scale operations resulting
in the seizure of documents in the homes and offices of businessmen
under investigation; the imprisonment of certain key figures
in the crime network; and the freezing of property of several
authorities. For example:
Considered the head of the armed wing of organized crime,
Walter Gomes Ferreira, the chief of the reserve of the Military
Police, was transferred to the Special Prison of Rio Branco,
a maximum security facility in the state of Acre. The order
was given by the judges of the Unit of Criminal Executions,
Alexandre Martins de Castro Filho, Rubens José da Cruz
and Carlos Eduardo Lemos, answering the report of the Organized
Crime Repression Group (GRCO) of the state's Prosecutor's
Office, which alleged the need to transfer Ferreira who, although
detained by the Military Police, was continuing to order killings
by cell phone.
q The businessman Carlos Guilherme Lima remained in detention
at the maximum security prison Mosesp II, from December 2002
to September 2003. The businessman was on the list of 51 key
individuals identified by the Federal Police in Espírito
Santo, revealed by the magazine Isto É, in November.
Considered the "financial manager of organized crime,"
Guilherme Lima was accused by the Federal Prosecutor and by
the Federal Police of organizing gangs, laundering money,
concealing property, auction fraud, and crimes against public
order. In December, he was caught in a negotiation to guarantee,
in the Legislative Assembly, the authorization for the privatization
of Banestes, the public bank of which he was the chief executive.
Tapes recorded by the police revealed the scheme which involved
deputies and the former state transportation secretary, Jorge
Hélio Leal. On the recording 3,
the former deputy Gumercino Vinand complains about not having
received all of the agreed upon R$80,000, and Guilherme Lima
talks about 16 separate checks, which may have referred to
16 different deputies.
q The former president of the Legislative Assembly, José
Carlos Gratz, considered the political arm of crime in the
state, was imprisoned in February 2003. The imprisonment took
place as a result of his interference in the electoral process
for the leadership of the Legislative Assembly. In June of
2003, the Superior Court of Justice conceded habeas corpus
to him. However, he had his property frozen by the court.
On September 12, he returned to prison under the accusation
of diverting public funds; nonetheless, he was once against
released on habeas corpus on September 21, and now responds
to these trials as a free man.
q The Special Mission has ordered other arrests. One example
is that of the businessman and former member of the Military
Police Sebastião Pagotto, carried out in March 2003,
when he was accused of ordering the assassination of lawyer
Marcelo Denadai, which occurred in April 2002.
q In May 2003, the Mission requested the seizure of property
of former governor José Ignácio Ferreira, of
his wife and the former state Labor Secretary Maria Helena
Ruy Ferreira, of his brother-in-law and former public official
Gentil Antônio Ruy, and of his 1998 campaign manager
Raimundo Benedito de Souza Filho. This freezing of assets
was aimed at recovering R$19 million from Coopetfes (the Espírito
Santo state credit union). In June, another accusation was
made against Ignácio, this time for evasion of taxes
on R$782,000 in income since 1998.
q It is also worth noting the ruling of the Superior Court
of Justice that removed the reelected state deputies Sérgio
Borges, José Tasso, Gilson Amaro, Marcos Gazzani, Fátima
Couzi and Luís Carlos Moreira, in February 2003, at
the request of the Special Mission - based on the charge of
receiving bribes of R$30,000 each. However, they were released
in April 2003.
acknowledging the importance of these actions, the main work
achieved by the Special Mission was the mapping out of organized
crime in the state. According to Attorney General José
Roberto Santoro, who led the team at the Federal Prosecutor's
office, various indictments, trials and other actions are
being developed, some already underway at the Ministry of
the other hand, the Special Mission is restricted to federal
crimes. In the past year, crimes against life, especially
homicide, rose 11.2%, from 1,572 in 2001 to 1,771 in 2002.
These deaths are, in large part, executions conducted by gunmen
and the police.
Cabinet of Integrated Management for Public Security
August 8, 2003, the Ministry of Justice and the state government
signed a protocol of intentions to create the Cabinet of Integrated
Management (GGI). Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney
General José Roberto Santoro, the GGI includes federal
and state agencies: the Federal Prosecutor, the Federal Police,
the Department of State for Public Safety, the State Prosecutor,
and the Justice Department. It will function through the end
of 2006. The GGI will rely on the National Fund for Public
Safety as the source of its funding.
a year of intense work, there is still a large local, inter-state,
national and international connection among criminal organizations,
without there being, as an opposing force, effective capacity
in the state apparatus to control and combat these organizations.
The actions taken so far allow us to know the mechanisms of
criminality and impunity.
groups control billions of dollars in the world and, with
their assets, corrode governments and compromise development
efforts and democracy. Some criminal groups infiltrate the
structures of the State, financing political campaigns, undermining
the political process and co-opting public officials.
Espírito Santo, they also control the Legislative Assembly,
allegedly controlling 29 of the 30 deputies. Another mechanism
is the substitution of the State in its provision of services.
In many places, criminal organizations provide work, safety
and protection, and even social assistance.
these reasons, it is now the consensus among governmental
and non-governmental organizations involved in this work that
the fight against organized crime in the state of Espírito
Santo is just beginning.
Maria Silveira is a human rights activist, and a member of
the administrative team of Congress member Iriny Lopes.
An example is the case of Scuderie Detective Le Cocq, a paramilitary
association, legally constituted, with an identified address,
described by the CPI of Narcotraffic of the Federal Chamber
of Deputies as a "criminal organization, still active
in the state, comprising the action of civilian and military
groups against constitutional order and the Democratic State
and Law, confronting itself in Constitutional rule (Article
5, inciso XLIV da Carta Magna), characterized by violence
to the Law and Fundamental Guarantees".
In the 2002 Report of the Social Network for Justice and Human
Rights, we presented a brief retrospective of the facts and
Gazeta on line; 12/12/2002