Police allege a criminal network planned to kidnap and kill government officials in coordinated attacks.
Brazil’s federal police have announced a large-scale operation to disrupt a criminal gang accused of plotting the kidnapping and murder of government officials in at least five states.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, police said it had sent about 120 officers to serve 24 search and seizure warrants and 11 arrest warrants for individuals in states including Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondonia, Sao Paulo and Parana.
Police also claimed that the planned attacks were part of a coordinated campaign, intended to happen simultaneously. Justice Minister Flavio Dino announced on Twitter that a senator and a prosecutor were among the targets.
Two officials, husband and wife Sergio Moro and Rosangela Moro, also wrote on social media that they were intended victims.
“I congratulate the police and officers involved in Operation Sequaz, which dismantled an organized crime plan to kill authorities and their families, including my husband (Sergio Moro) and my family,” wrote Rosangela Moro, a member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies.
In a Twitter thread, she expressed relief at Wednesday’s announcement and said she is ready to pursue even stricter laws against organized crime in Brazil.
“Retaliation, in crime or politics, cannot last. Today it’s us. Tomorrow it could be you or your kids,” she wrote.
Her husband, Senator Sergio Moro, had previously served as a federal judge for corruption trials, including the “Operation Car Wash” scandal, which sent former president and prominent left-wing politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to nearly 10 years in prison. .
The “Operation Car Wash” case propelled Moro to fame in his home state of Parana. In 2017, Moro had found Lula guilty of corruption and money laundering for allegedly accepting a beachfront property as a bribe, as well as apartment upgrades.
The corruption charges were later quashed in 2021, as Moro had colluded with prosecutors. That paved the way for Lula to run for president again, and in 2022 he won a third term, defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff.
Moro eventually resigned as judge. While in office, Bolsonaro appointed him justice minister, though their relationship eventually deteriorated. In 2022, Moro won a seat in Brazil’s Senate.
Commenting on the alleged criminal plot, Moro took to Twitter to suggest that the First Capital Command, or PCC, was involved. The PCC is one of the largest criminal organizations in Brazil, founded in Sao Paulo and involved in international drug trafficking, money laundering and clashes with the police.
Moro added that he would make a statement to the Senate about the criminal plot later on Wednesday.
On her own Twitter account, his wife Rosangela speculated that the couple and other officials were targeted “because their work gave them the courage to stand up to organized crime.”
“You can’t bargain with a bandit,” she added.