Primeiro Comando da Capital

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Primeiro Comando da Capital
Founded31 August 1993
Founding locationTaubaté prison, Taubaté, São Paulo, Brazil
Years active1993–present
EthnicityBrazilians (predominantly) Paraguayans, Venezuelans, Argentines
ActivitiesDrug trafficking, terrorism, murder, fraud, pimping, arms trafficking, extortion, assault, money laundering, smuggling, kidnapping, highway robbery, bribery, gambling and human trafficking
AlliesAmigos dos Amigos, Terceiro Comando Puro, 'Ndrangheta, Tren de Aragua
RivalsTerceiro Comando, Comando Vermelho, Família do Norte, Clan Rotela[2][3][4]

Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC; "First Command of the Capital", Portuguese pronunciation: [pɾiˈmejɾu koˈmɐ̃du da kapiˈtaw], 1533) is, according to a 2012 Brazilian Government report, the largest Brazilian criminal organization,[5] with a membership of almost 20,000 members, 6,000 of whom are in prison.[5]

The criminal organization is based largely in the state of São Paulo and is active in at least 22 of the country's 27 states, as well as in Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia[5] and United States[6] Since its inception, PCC has been responsible for several criminal activities such as murders, prison breaks, prison riots, drug trafficking, bank robberies, highway robberies, protection rackets, pimping, kidnappings-for-ransom, money laundering, bribery, coercion, narco-terrorism, and obstruction of justice. The name refers to the state capital, city of São Paulo.

In 2012, a wave of violence in São Paulo killed upwards of 100 people including many police officers allegedly following the breakdown of an informal truce between the gang and the police.[7]


The PCC was founded on August 31, 1993, by eight prisoners at Taubaté Penitentiary, called Piranhão (Big Piranha) in the state of São Paulo. At the time, this was considered the safest jail in the state.[8]

The group initially got together during a football game. The prisoners had been transferred from the city of São Paulo to the Piranhão as punishment for bad behavior, and they decided to name their team the Capital Command—a name which would stick, as the game was followed by the brutal killing and decapitation of both the deputy director and a prisoner with special privileges, with the head of the latter being put on a stake.[9]

The initial members were Misael "Misa" Aparecido da Silva, Wander Eduardo "Cara Gorda" (Fat Face) Ferreira, Antônio Carlos Roberto da Paixão, Isaías "Esquisito" (Weird) Moreira do Nascimento, Ademar "Dafé" dos Santos, Antônio "Bicho Feio" (Ugly Beast) Carlos dos Santos, César "Césinha" (Little César) Augusto Roris da Silva and José "Geleião" (Big Jelly) Márcio Felício.

PCC, which was also formerly referred to as the Party of Crime, and as 15.3.3 (following the order of the letters "P" and "C" in the former Brazilian alphabet, which did not contain the letter "K"), was founded with a clear agenda, aiming to "fight the oppression inside the São Paulo penitentiary system" and to "avenge the death of 111 prisoners," victims of the October 2, 1992 Carandiru massacre, when the São Paulo State Military Police stormed the now-defunct Casa de Detenção and killed the prisoners from the 9th pavilion in the process.

The group made use of the Chinese taititu ("yin yang") symbol as their emblem, saying it represented "a way to balance good and evil with wisdom." In February 2001, Idemir "Sombra" (Shadow) Carlos Ambrósio became the most prominent leader of the organization when he coordinated, by cell phone, simultaneous rebellions in 29 São Paulo state prisons, in which 16 prisoners were killed. "Sombra," also referred to as "father," was beaten to death on the Piranhão five months later by five members of the criminal faction in an internal struggle for the general command of the PCC. The PCC was led by "Geleião" and "Cesinha," responsible for the alliance with another criminal organization, Rio de Janeiro's Comando Vermelho. Following the alliance with Comando Vermelho, the gang adopted Vermelho's far-left beliefs and began advocating for revolution and the destruction of Brazil's capitalist system.[10]

São Paulo's military Police (Polícia Militar) is the main target of the attacks.

Geleião and Cesinha, from the Bangu Penitentiary where they were held, went on to coordinate violent attacks against public buildings. Considered radicals by another moderate current of the PCC, they used terrorism to intimidate authorities of the prison system and were withdrawn from leadership in November 2002, when the leadership was taken by the current leader of the organization Marcos "Marcola" Willians Herbas Camacho. After he took over, the organization put a death bounty on Geleião and Cesinha, on the counts of having testified to the police and creating the Terceiro Comando da Capital (Third Capital Command, TCC).

Under the leadership of Marcola, also known as "Playboy," currently detained for bank robbery, the PCC took part in the March 2003 murder of Judge Antônio José Machado Dias, who ran the Penitentiary Readaptation Center (CRP) from Presidente Bernardes, São Paulo, currently Brazil's most strict supermax-style prison. The PCC also announced its objective to use prison uprisings as a way to demoralize the government and to destroy the CRP.

The organization is partly funded by its members, called "brothers." They are required to pay a monthly fee of R$50.00 (about US $12.90) while in prison, or R$500.00 (about US $129.00) if they are outside of it. The money is used to buy weapons and drugs, and also to finance operations to bail out prisoners connected to the organization. In order to become a member of the PCC, the prospective member needs to be formally introduced by another regular member, taking an oath to follow its 16-clause statute.

2006 attacks[edit]

Sites in São Paulo State attacked by PCC in 2006.

Since the beginning of Friday May 12, 2006 there have been 299 attacks against public establishments such as police stations, justice forums, buses, etc.; which are allegedly organized by the PCC. The violence represents the bloodiest assault of its kind in the history of Brazil's richest state, São Paulo. The attacks have apparently been organized by gang members in prison via cell phone.[11]

2012 attacks[edit]

By the end of 2012, another wave of attacks against the police began. The cause was apparently an announcement made by PCC leaders and spread to gang members outside jail. According to the message, called "Salve Geral", the organization was suffering losses allegedly caused by coward killing of gang members by the São Paulo State police, and thereby, for each member killed by the police, one officer of the same corporation that caused it had to be murdered.

Then, during about thirty days, every day one or two policemen were killed, mostly in defenseless circumstances, such as resting, on vacation, or even retired officers. Many policemen were murdered in front of family or friends, usually when arriving or leaving their homes. After the crime, co-workers of the victim went to the neighborhood's drug hotspots, shooting suspicious people there in order to avenge their dead colleague. During those days, the city usually woke up with near a dozen casualties the night before.

By December, the killings started to decrease and ceased with no known reason.

2013 activity[edit]

Even though no more attacks have happened, police reports point out that behind the scenes PCC is getting stronger and bigger. They are already operating in almost every Brazilian State, and commanding minor gangs in those places. International activity, in other countries of South America, is also taking place. The reports also show that other uprisings were planned, but taken down by the State police. They also plan on running elections for the Congress, and have planned attacks to the Governor of the State of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, who's been working hard to dismantle the gang.

Reports by the end of 2013 show that PCC's influence has reached Rio de Janeiro and they have taken control of the factions that command the city's drug market. The factions Comando Vermelho (Red Command), Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of the Friends) and Terceiro Comando (Third Command) are now ruled by PCC, whose order has been to stop fights between the factions, and increase the crack market, as that drug's selling was not well seen by Rio's gangs.

Paraguay heist[edit]

In April 2017 the company Prosegur located in Ciudad del Este, in the Triple Frontier of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, was robbed by a group of at least 30 men carrying heavy firepower.[12] 8 million dollars were stolen, differing from the early reports of 40 million.[13][14] The group used automatic rifles, infrared sights, anti-aircraft guns, explosives, bullet proof getaway cars, speedboats and blocked avenues with torched cars and trucks, locals described the heist as "movie-like".[15] Since the Modus operandi was similar to others used in past robberies in Campinas, Ribeirão Preto and Santos in 2015 and 2016, the PCC was the main suspect of perpetrating the heist, although never confirmed.[16] It was the biggest robbery in the history of Paraguay.[17] A police officer was killed and 4 people were injured.[18][19]


The Primeiro Comando da Capital has a statute with various rules for the criminal organization. Disobeying the rules, says the statute, carries a penalty of death. On May 16, 2006 a couple was arrested with a copy of the statute.[20]

Alliance with 'Ndrangheta[edit]

According to investigations carried out by both Europol and the Brazilian Federal Police, the PCC has ties to the 'Ndrangheta, considered the most bloodthirsty group of the Italian Mafia and the richest and most powerful criminal syndicate in the West.[21]

This was evident after the arrests of high-ranking 'Ndrangheta bosses and members in Brazil, such as Rocco Morabito (known as the “Cocaine King of Milan”), cousin of Giuseppe Morabito (one of the most powerful 'Ndrangheta bosses) and considered one of the organization's main drug traffickers.[22]

According to investigations, Morabito is considered one of the main associates of André Macedo Oliveira (known as "André do Rap"), one of the current leaders of the PCC and considered one of the most bloodthirsty drug lords in Latin America.[23]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Os donos do crime: Marcola, Beira-Mar e Zé Roberto da Compensa". Istoé. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  2. ^ Fonseca, Pedro; Brooks, Brad. "Brazil gang kills 31, many hacked to death, as prison violence explodes". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  3. ^ InformeAgora: PCC x Clã Rotela: uma guerra que não acaba no Paraguai
  4. ^ Midiamax (VÍDEO): imagens mostram massacre em presídio durante guerra entre PCC e Clã Protela
  5. ^ a b c "Brazil crime gang has spread through most of country". Emirates 24/7. November 25, 2012. Archived from the original on 2022-01-04. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  6. ^ "14 Gang Members and Associates Charged with Committing Violent Crimes in Masschusetts". 2019-04-25. Archived from the original on 2021-07-17. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
  7. ^ "Threat of new police, gang war loom over Sao Paulo after informal truce appears to collapse". Fox News. Associated Press. November 15, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  8. ^ "Facção criminosa PCC foi criada em 1993" (in Brazilian Portuguese). Folha de S.Paulo. 14 May 2006. Archived from the original on 17 July 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  9. ^ Galarraga Gortázar, Naiara; Alessi, Gil (13 June 2020). "PCC, la hermandad de los criminales" (in Spanish). El País. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  10. ^ "First Capital Command – PCC". InSight Crime. July 9, 2018. Archived from the original on May 2, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  11. ^ "Brazil prison guards nab pigeon with cell phone". Archived from the original on 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  12. ^ Watts, Jonathan (2017-04-25). "'Heist of the century': Brazilian gang hits security vault and police HQ in Paraguay". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  13. ^ Romero, Simon (2017-04-25). "Deadly Heist Shakes a South American Borderland Trying to Shed Its Lawless Image". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  14. ^ Pestre, Maria Clara. "Brazil arrests eight after Paraguay cash heist; four dead". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2018-05-22.
  15. ^ Molina, Federico Rivas (2017-04-25). "Atraco de película en Paraguay: 50 hombres roban millones de dólares en una oficina de Prosegur". El País (in Spanish). Madrid. ISSN 1134-6582. Archived from the original on 2018-07-18.
  16. ^ "Facção de SP é suspeita de atuar em mega-assalto 'inédito' no Paraguai". Folha de S. Paulo. 2017-04-24. Archived from the original on 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  17. ^ "Golpe comando en Ciudad de Este: tomaron la ciudad y se robaron USD40 millones". La Nación (in Spanish). 2017-04-24. Archived from the original on 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  18. ^ Hisayasu; José Maria Tomazela, Alexandre; José Maria (2017-04-24). "PCC avança fronteira e explode empresa no maior roubo da história do Paraguai - Brasil - Estadão". Estadão (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2018-05-16.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Explosiones, tiroteo y persecución en asalto de película en Paraguay". CNN (in European Spanish). 2017-04-24. Archived from the original on 2018-11-24. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  20. ^ Couple were arrested with a copy of the statute Archived 2008-09-21 at the Wayback Machine - Folha de S.Paulo.
  21. ^ UOL: The PCC and the Italian Mafia
  22. ^ Gazeta do Povo: Who is Rocco Morabito, the “cocaine king” of the Italian mafia who was arrested by the Federal Police
  23. ^ UOL/Blog do Josimar Jozino: Italian mobster arrested in Brazil gave away R$100 in a flat in Paraíba

External links[edit]

{{wikinews|Wave of attacks strike policemen in BrMap of the attack of May 2006 on São Paulo