Small Wars Journal

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 47: Woman with a Baby Arrested at Novo Rio Bus Station for Transporting a .50 Caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle in Her Luggage to Comando Vermelho Norte

Fri, 04/08/2022 - 12:11am

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 47: Woman with a Baby Arrested at Novo Rio Bus Station for Transporting a .50 Caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle in Her Luggage to Comando Vermelho Norte  

Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan

On 30 March 2022, a woman with a baby was arrested by at the Novo Rio Bus Station for transporting a .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle in her luggage. Her husband is a fugitive and one of the leaders of the Comando Vermelho Norte (Red Command North) in Belém, Pará, Brazil. The arrest was carried out by civilian police officers of the Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE – Drug Enforcement Division). The transportation of illicit items such as weapons, narcotics, and cash by females with young children accompanying them is a common gang and cartel trafficking method meant to throw off authorities.


.50 Cal

.50 Cal. Anti-Materiel Rifle Smuggled in a Suitcase Seized

Source: Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PCERJ), http://www.policiacivilrj.net.br/noticias.php?id=14261.

Key Information: PCERJ em Ação, “Polícia Civil prende mulher que transportava metralhadora na bagagem.” Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PCERJ). 31 March 2022, http://www.policiacivilrj.net.br/noticias.php?id=14261:

Policiais civis da Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE) prenderam em flagrante, nesta quarta-feira (30/03), uma mulher que transportava uma metralhadora calibre .50 na bagagem. Ela foi abordada na Rodoviária Novo Rio, após intenso trabalho de inteligência e investigação. A criminosa foi autuada por porte ilegal de arma de fogo de uso restrito.

A mulher, que ia para a cidade de Belém, no Pará, estava com sua filha de 7 meses de idade quando foi presa. Ela é natural daquele estado e ligada a uma facção criminosa. Seu marido, que se encontra foragido da Justiça, é um dos líderes da facção.

De acordo com as investigações, a autora adquiriu o armamento no Complexo da Penha, na Zona Norte do Rio. No mercado negro, uma metralhadora deste modelo custa cerca de R$ 250 mil reais.[1]

Key Information: Filipe Fernandes, “Mulher com criança de colo é presa na Rodoviária Novo Rio com metralhadora na bagagem.” G1 (Globo). 31 March 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/03/31/mulher-com-crianca-de-colo-e-presa-na-rodoviaria-novo-rio-com-metralhadora-na-bagagem.ghtml:

A Polícia Civil do RJ prendeu na noite desta quarta-feira (30), na Rodoviária Novo Rio, uma mulher com uma criança de colo que transportava uma metralhadora em sua bagagem

Segundo a Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE), Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, de 24 anos, tentava viajar com a filha de sete meses para Belém do Pará. Em uma das malas, havia uma metralhadora calibre .50

A polícia afirma que Ana Caroline é ligada ao Comando Vermelho Norte, e o marido, Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, é um dos líderes da facção criminosa. Hemerson está foragido.

De acordo com as investigações, Ana Caroline adquiriu o armamento no Complexo da Penha. No mercado negro, seu valor gira em torno de R$ 250 mil.[2]

N.B.: The article includes an embedded 2:18 minute TV Globo news broadcast. 

Key Information: “Polícia prende mulher com bebê de colo e metralhadora na bagagem.” Meia Hora. 31 March 2022, https://www.meiahora.com.br/geral/policia/2022/03/6370281-policia-prende-mulher-com-bebe-de-colo-e-metralhadora-na-bagagem.html#foto=1:

Rio - Uma mulher foi presa na Rodoviária do Rio, na noite desta quarta-feira (30), transportando uma metralhadora calibre .50 em sua bagagem. Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, de 24 anos, estava acompanhada da filha, uma bebê de sete meses, e seguia para o estado do Pará, local que nasceu e onde seu marido, o foragido Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, é um dos líderes da facção conhecida como CV-Norte.

De acordo com as investigações da Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE), a mulher adquiriu o armamento no Complexo da Penha, na Zona Norte do Rio. "Nós tínhamos uma investigação em curso aqui na DRE e dados de inteligência davam conta que uma arma sairia aqui do Complexo da Penha, reduto da principal facção criminosa do Rio de Janeiro e seguiria para robustecer o grupo lá no Pará, que é uma das rotas utilizadas da facção aqui para remessas de drogas para o Brasil e aqui para o Rio de Janeiro. Entra lá pelas regiões fronteiriças, pelo Rio Amazonas, e descem aqui no Rio de Janeiro", explicou o delegado da DRE, Rodrigo Coelho, em entrevista ao RJ1 da TV Globo.

Segundo a especializada, no mercado clandestino, o valor da metralhadora está estimado em cerca de R$ 250 mil e tem um alcance de mais de cinco quilômetros. A arma é artesanal, mede 1,10 metro, pesa sete quilos sem munição e faz cerca 50 disparos por minuto. "A gente tem um histórico de terceira apreensão pela Polícia Civil. Essa arma, em razão da raridade, ela é uma arma antimateriais, ela não especificamente apenas para confronto com contingente humano, ela também é antiblindade e aeronaves", continuou Coelho.[3]

Key Information: Adria Karoline, “Mulher com criança de colo é presa na Rodoviária Novo Rio com metralhadora na bagagem.” Jornal Folha do Progresso. 31 March 2022, https://www.folhadoprogresso.com.br/mulher-com-crianca-de-colo-e-presa-na-rodoviaria-novo-rio-com-metralhadora-na-bagagem/:

Jovem tentava viajar para o Pará. Segundo a Polícia Civil, marido dela é chefe do Comando Vermelho Norte e está foragido.

Segundo a Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE), Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, de 24 anos, tentava viajar com a filha de sete meses para Belém do Pará. Em uma das malas, havia uma metralhadora calibre .50.

A polícia afirma que Ana Caroline é ligada ao Comando Vermelho Norte, e o marido, Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, é um dos líderes da facção criminosa. Hemerson está foragido.

De acordo com as investigações, Ana Caroline adquiriu o armamento no Complexo da Penha. No mercado negro, seu valor gira em torno de R$ 250 mil.[4]

Third Generation Gangs Analysis

On Wednesday 30 March 2022 at 2000 hours (8:00 PM) at the Novo Rio Bus Station in Rio de Janeiro, Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, age 24, was arrested for the illicit transportation of a .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle recovered from her luggage. The arrest was made by the Delegacia de Repressão a Entorpecentes (DRE − Drug Enforcement Division) based on intelligence related to the smuggling incident. The suspect was traveling with her 7-month-old daughter from Rio de Janeiro to Belém do Pará, Brazil with the intent of delivering the weapon to her husband Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva. He is a wanted fugitive and allegedly the primary leader of the Comando Vermelho Norte (CV-Norte) gang in Belém do Pará.[5][6] In Pará state on the Lower Amazon, Belém is in the far north of Brazil about 1,900 miles away from Rio de Janeiro.  

The .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle—repeatedly described as a ‘machine gun’—is of artisanal design with the ability to be broken down into 3 sections for covert transport (such as being placed in a small suitcase). The weapon was reported to have a black-market value of R$ 250,000 and was obtained in the Complexo da Penha, a large complex of favelas (slums) in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro. R$ 250,000 represents about US$ 53,500 which is an exceedingly large sum to pay for a firearm and particularly for an artisanal or homemade weapon. For comparative purposes, a .50 caliber Barrett rifle obtained in the US and smuggled into Mexico would have a market value more in the US $15,000 to $20,000 range. The .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle seized was reported to be ‘rare.’ It weighed about seven kilos (~15 pounds without ammunition), was magazine fed, and could fire up to 50 rounds per minute although the magazine attached to it appeared to be more in the 10 round capacity range. As an anti-materiel rifle without a scope attachment, the primary intent would be for anti-vehicular (armored) and anti-helicopter purposes thus likely deployed in anti-law enforcement operations.  

The incident reporting suggests that the weapon was in the inventory of the main Comando Vermelho (CV) gang in Rio de Janeiro—possibly produced in a homemade CV arms factory (though this would not support the R$ 250,000 valuation) or purchased by the gang from a clandestine arms factory operated by another criminal group. The incident, while seemingly only of tactical significance, actually has far greater implications. The specialized weapon was specifically being sent to Belém do Pará to strengthen the military position of Comando Vermelho Norte. Belém is on a primary narcotic trafficking route that utilizes river transport through the Amazon down to Rio de Janeiro and thus has key strategic value for the gang. The incident portrays the growing sophistication of the Comando Vermelho as a third generation gang and provides another glimpse into the criminal insurgencies now actively taking place throughout many of the urban regions—primarily the expansive favelaswithin Brazil.

Sources

Filipe Fernandes, “Mulher com criança de colo é presa na Rodoviária Novo Rio com metralhadora na bagagem.” G1 (Globo). 31 March 2022, https://g1.globo.com/rj/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2022/03/31/mulher-com-crianca-de-colo-e-presa-na-rodoviaria-novo-rio-com-metralhadora-na-bagagem.ghtml.

Adria Karoline, “Mulher com criança de colo é presa na Rodoviária Novo Rio com metralhadora na bagagem.” Jornal Folha do Progresso. 31 March 2022, https://www.folhadoprogresso.com.br/mulher-com-crianca-de-colo-e-presa-na-rodoviaria-novo-rio-com-metralhadora-na-bagagem/.

“Polícia prende mulher com bebê de colo e metralhadora na bagagem.” Meia Hora. 31 March 2022, https://www.meiahora.com.br/geral/policia/2022/03/6370281-policia-prende-mulher-com-bebe-de-colo-e-metralhadora-na-bagagem.html#foto=1.

PCERJ em Ação, “Polícia Civil prende mulher que transportava metralhadora na bagagem.” Polícia Civil do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PCERJ). 31 March 2022, http://www.policiacivilrj.net.br/noticias.php?id=14261.

Endnotes

[1] In English, the title reads: “PCERJ in Action: Civil Police arrests woman carrying machine gun in her luggage.” The text reads:Civilian police officers from the Drugs Repression Police Station (DRE) caught in the act, this Wednesday (30/03), a woman carrying a .50 caliber machine gun in her luggage. She was approached at the Novo Rio Bus Station, subsequent to intense intelligence work and investigation. The criminal was charged with illegal possession of a restricted firearm. […] The woman, who was going to the city of Belém, in Pará, was with her 7-month-old daughter when she was arrested. She is a native of that state and linked to a criminal faction. Her husband, who is on the run from justice, is one of the leaders of the faction. […] According to the investigations, the author acquired the weapons in Complexo da Penha, in Rio's northern zone. On the black market, a machine gun of this model costs about R$ 250 thousand real.”

[2] In English, the title reads: “Woman with toddler is arrested at Novo Rio Bus Station with machine gun in luggage.” The text reads: “According to the Drug Enforcement Department (DRE), Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, 24, was trying to travel with her seven-month-old daughter to Belém do Pará. In one of the suitcases, there was a .50 caliber machine gun. […] The police say that Ana Caroline is linked to the Comando Vermelho Norte, and her husband, Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, is one of the leaders of the criminal group. Hemerson is at large. […] According to the investigations, Ana Caroline acquired the weapons in Complexo da Penha. On the black market, its value is around R$ 250 thousand.”

[3] In English, the title reads: “Police arrest woman with toddler and machine gun in luggage.” The text reads: “Rio - A woman was arrested at the Rio Bus Station, on Wednesday night (30), carrying a .50 caliber machine gun in her luggage. Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, 24, was accompanied by her daughter, a seven-month-old baby, and was on her way to the state of Pará, where she was born and where her husband, the fugitive Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, is one of the leaders of the faction known as CV-Norte. […] According to the investigations of the Drug Enforcement Division (DRE), the woman acquired the weapons in Complexo da Penha, in Rio’s North Zone. ‘We had an ongoing investigation here at the DRE, and intelligence data told us that a gun would leave here at the Complexo da Penha, stronghold of Rio de Janeiro’s main criminal faction, and go to strengthen the group there in Pará, which is one of the routes used by the faction here for drug shipments to Brazil and here to Rio de Janeiro. They enter there through the border regions, through the Amazon River, and come down here in Rio de Janeiro,‘ explained the DRE delegate, Rodrigo Coelho, in an interview with RJ1 TV Globo.’ […] According to the expert, in the clandestine market, the value of the machine gun is estimated at around R$ 250,000 and has a range of over five kilometers. The weapon is homemade, measures 1.10 meters, weighs seven kilograms without ammunition and makes about 50 shots per minute. ‘We have a history of three seizures by the Civil Police. This gun, due to its rarity, is an anti-material weapon, it is not only specifically for confrontation with human contingent, it is also anti-armor and aircraft,’ continued Coelho.”

[4] In English, the title reads: “Woman with toddler is arrested at Novo Rio Bus Station with machine gun in her luggage.” The text reads, “A young woman was trying to travel to Pará. According to the Civil Police, her husband is the head of the Northern Red Command and is on the run. […] According to the Narcotics Repression Police (DRE), Ana Caroline Ferreira Trindade, 24, was trying to travel with her seven-month-old daughter to Belém do Pará. In one of the suitcases, there was a .50 caliber machine gun. […] The police say that Ana Caroline is linked to the Comando Vermelho Norte, and her husband, Hemerson Gernan Gouveia da Silva, is one of the leaders of the criminal group. Hemerson is at large. […] According to the investigations, Ana Caroline acquired the weapons in Complexo da Penha. On the black market, its value is around R$ 250,000.”

[5] The Comando Vermelho Norte (CV-Norte) is a branch of Rio’s Comando Vermelho (CV). The CV has been subject to pressure from its rivals, including the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) and militias in Rio. The CV initially forged an alliance with the Família do Norte (FDN –Northern Family) and its historical links to Colombia’s Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) to forge a drug-trafficking hub in the Amazon’s jungles. Both the CV and PCC are building cross-border capacity in the Amazon. See, Eduardo Gonçalves, “Terror em expansão: o Comando Vermelho avança no Norte do Brasil [Expanding Terror: The Red Command advances in Northern Brazil].” Veja. 18 June 2021, https://veja.abril.com.br/brasil/terror-em-expansao-o-comando-vermelho-avanca-no-norte-do-brasil/.  

[6] The FDN alliance with the CV ended in 2018. See, “Facções Família do Norte e Comando Vermelho rompem aliança, afirma delegado [Factions Família do Norte and Comando Vermelho break alliance, says police chief].” A Crítica. 15 May 2018, https://www.acritica.com/channels/manaus/news/faccoes-famiia-do-norte-e-comando-vermelho-rompem-alianca-afirma-delegado. This split resulted in a shifting set of gang alliances as local factions compete with the larger CV and PCC for a share of the illicit market. For additional details on these protean alliances, see Gil Alessi and Elton Rodrigues, “Linha de frente na guerra entre facções no Amazonas, bairro da Compensa em Manaus vive dias sangrentos [Frontline in the war between factions in the Amazon, the neighborhood of Compensa in Manaus lives bloody days].” El País. 28 April 2021, https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2021-04-28/linha-de-frente-na-guerra-entre-faccoes-no-amazonas-bairro-da-compensa-em-manaus-vive-dias-sangrentos.html and Gil Alessi, “No Brasil do PCC, mais de 30 facções articulam o crime organizado no sistema penitenciário federal.” El País. 19 July 2020, https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2020-07-19/no-brasil-do-pcc-mais-de-30-faccoes-articulam-o-crime-organizado-no-sistema-penitenciario-federal.html.

For Additional Reading

John P. Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker, Eds., Competition in Order and Progress: Criminal Insurgencies and Governance in Brazil. Bloomington: Xlibris, March 2022.

John P. Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker, Eds., Strategic Notes on Third Generation Gangs. Bloomington: Xlibris, April 2020.

Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan, Studies in Gangs and Cartels. London: Routledge, August 2013.

Categories: El Centro

About the Author(s)

Dr. Robert J. Bunker is Director of Research and Analysis, C/O Futures, LLC, and an Instructor at the Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. He holds university degrees in political science, government, social science, anthropology-geography, behavioral science, and history and has undertaken hundreds of hours of counterterrorism training. Past professional associations include Minerva Chair at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College and Futurist in Residence, Training and Development Division, Behavioral Science Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, Quantico. Dr. Bunker has well over 500 publications—including about 40 books as co-author, editor, and co-editor—and can be reached at docbunker@smallwarsjournal.com.   
 

Dr. John P. Sullivan was a career police officer. He is an honorably retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, specializing in emergency operations, transit policing, counterterrorism, and intelligence. He is currently an Instructor in the Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California. Sullivan received a lifetime achievement award from the National Fusion Center Association in November 2018 for his contributions to the national network of intelligence fusion centers. He completed the CREATE Executive Program in Counter-Terrorism at the University of Southern California and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD from the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya). His doctoral thesis was “Mexico’s Drug War: Cartels, Gangs, Sovereignty and the Network State.” He can be reached at jpsullivan@smallwarsjournal.com.