Reports indicate that on October 24 security forces killed three men belonging to the “Comando Vermelho” (Red Commando), one of Brazil’s largest criminal organization. The security operation took place in a rented house in Presidente Franco, south of Ciudad del Este, in the Tri-border area. Police seized assault and sniper rifles as well as handguns. Furthermore, police found a car rigged with explosives. According to official sources, the neutralized individuals were purportedly planning an attack to release Marcelo Fernando Pinheiro Veiga, popularly known as “Marcelo Piloto”, who is one of the leading members of Comando Vermelho. Piloto was detained in Paraguay in December 2017 and remains in custody in Asunción. On October 4 security services detained six heavily-armed individuals from the same organization who were planning to extract Polito from the Agrupación Especializada Prison, located in the capital’s neighborhood of Roberto L. Petit.
Bearing in mind that criminals were preparing a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), it is likely that they planned to use it to create a blast through the prison where Piloto is being held in Asuncion. The Comando Vermelho is known to be heavily armed and their operations often involve highly-planned frontal assaults. Following the failed attack on October 4, it is likely that members from the criminal organization regrouped in Presidente Franco, where security is less stringent than in the capital. That said, following the latest raid, security operations in the Tri-border area could potentially take place, as the neutralized individuals were likely to have collaborators in the area. In turn, Paraguayan authorities could pressure judicial authorities to extradite Piloto to Brazil to reduce the likelihood of an attack in Asunción. Considering the group’s capabilities, this possibility cannot be ruled out.