Brazil's Federal Prosecution Service formally accused eighteen of belonging to criminal gangs involved in sending cocaine in fruit containers to Europe through the port of Salvador, north of the country. With Operation Decontamination, twelve search and seizure warrants were ordered plus eight preventive arrests last April in several cities of the states of Bahia and São Paulo.
Members of the gangs have been charged with forming a criminal organization for illegal trafficking, international drug trafficking, money laundering, and falsifying public documents. According to investigations, the scheme created the conditions for port staff to put narcotics into containers bound for the European continent. The Federal Court of Bahia will now continue with the process.
The warrants were carried out in Salvador, Lauro de Freitas and Feira de Santana, and in the São Paulo municipalities of Sorocaba, Salto, Santos and São Vicente. Four of the accused remain in prison, while two others are under electronic monitoring.
In September 2021, three employees were arrested at the Container Terminal of the port of Salvador after placing 165 kilos of cocaine in a container destined for Europe. According to the Federal Police, Operation Decontamination has already carried out six cocaine seizures in Brazil and abroad, totaling about 3.5 tons of the drug.
The Federal Police and the Federal Revenue Service launched Operation Decontamination following on investigations started in 2019, which sought to dismantle the criminal organization.
The Brazilian Federal Prosecution Service and Federal Government continue investigating other crimes and other possible members belonging to the vast network of the criminal organization.