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Heightened security in Presidente Venceslau, São Paulo reported on November 18

Reports indicate that the municipality of Presidente Venceslau, located in the state of São Paulo, has seen the deployment of more than 200 policemen, vigilance drones, and armored vehicles, in response to an alleged plan to rescue leaders of the criminal organization Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) currently serving time in the local prison. Reports also indicate that security forces remain vigilant after consumer drones operating above the penitentiary were spotted on November 5. Furthermore, the local airport serving private aircraft has been closed.

While the government of the São Paulo State denies the existence of an escape plan and has thus far refrained from explaining heightened security in the vicinity of the prison, federal deputy and senator-elect Major Olímpio (PSL-SP) declared that a group of international mercenaries is purportedly involved in a rescue plan, including Iranian and Nigerian paramilitary forces, and former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) militants.

Along with Comando Vermelho (CV), the PCC is one of the largest and best organized criminal organizations in Brazil. Despite being under-funded, Brazilian security services have proven capable of preventing rescue plans in the past. In 2014, a joint investigation of civilian and military police discovered a plan to release Marco Willians Herbans Camacho, alias Marcola, that involved the use of helicopters and an escape to Paraguay. In April 2018, the military police reinforced security in Presidente Venceslau after receiving information that an armed group would detonate prison walls and close the streets of the city with armored cars to rescue prisoners. That said, there remain concerns about the highly militarized capabilities boosted by the group.

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