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A high Brazilian legal chief is remoted in jail after he negotiated his personal arrest

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Considered one of Brazil’s high legal leaders was locked up in a 6-square-meter (65-square-foot) isolation cell at a most safety jail to keep away from being killed by rivals, authorities mentioned Tuesday.

Luiz Antônio da Silva Braga, the boss of the biggest militia group within the state of Rio de Janeiro, surrendered to federal police on Sunday. The legal chief higher often known as Zinho was despatched to the Bangu 1 jail, the place drug traffickers and militia males are additionally held, Rio state’s public safety secretary Victor Santos mentioned.

“As we speak, Zinho’s custody is a accountability of the state,” he informed TV channel GloboNews. “He’s now in an remoted cell for us to safe his bodily integrity.”

Zinho’s lawyer didn’t reply to a request for remark from The Related Press following his arrest.

Militias emerged within the Nineteen Nineties after they initially had been made up primarily of former law enforcement officials, firefighters and troopers who wished to fight lawlessness of their neighborhoods. They charged residents for cover and different companies, however extra just lately moved into drug trafficking themselves.

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Zinho, whose militia group dominates Rio’s west area, had 12 arrest warrants issued towards him till he surrendered after a negotiation. He had been on the run since 2018, and rose to the highest place of the group after his brother Wellington da Silva Braga, often known as Ecko, was killed in 2021.

The militias are believed to manage about 10% of Rio’s metropolitan space, based on a research final 12 months by the non-profit Fogo Cruzado and a security-focused analysis group on the Fluminense Federal College. The militias are distinct from drug trafficking gangs that management essential areas of Rio.

A Brazilian federal police supply who had entry to the investigation informed The Related Press that Zinho feared he could possibly be executed if he turned himself in to Rio state police. The supply, who spoke beneath situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to debate the matter publicly, additionally mentioned the legal chief is not going to be part of different inmates at Bangu for sunbathing and meals on account of safety causes.

Rio Gov. Claudio Castro mentioned in a press release Monday that Zinho is “Rio’s primary enemy” and celebrated his police forces for the arrest.

“That is one other victory of our police and safety plan,” Castro mentioned. “The disarticulation of those legal teams with arrests, raids, monetary blocking and the arrest of that mobster present we’re on the best path,” the governor mentioned.

Authorities additionally mentioned they might shield Zinho within the expectation he might signal a plea deal that might implicate members of police forces, politicians and businessmen.

“That may rely so much on the place the attorneys take him, what he can provide as info and, clearly, what advantages he can get hold of from such a plea discount,” Santos, the Rio state public safety secretary mentioned.

Ricardo Capelli, executive-secretary at Brazil’s Justice Ministry, mentioned the federal government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva must “work to get to the backbone of the connections of the organized crime and its monetary strikes. Nobody brings terror to at least one third of the town of Rio with out having highly effective connections,” he mentioned in his social media channels.

The realm dominated by Zinho’s group made information in October when gang members set hearth to no less than 35 buses in obvious retaliation for police killing one of many legal chief’s important allies. The assault brought on no casualties, nevertheless it underlined the power of the militias to trigger chaos and inflict harm.

Zinho will stand trial on prices of forming a legal group, cash laundering, extortion, bribing public officers and co-participating in August 2022 within the killing of former Rio councilor Jerônimo Guimarães Filho, higher often known as Jerominho.

Police investigators mentioned Jerominho was shot {dead} beneath orders from Zinho, in an try and preserve management of his legal group. Zinho’s attorneys have lengthy denied he had any reference to that case. He’s additionally beneath investigation in a number of different killings of militia members.

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