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RS police arrest members of criminal faction who extorted motel owner

The Civil Police of Rio Grande do Sul temporarily arrested five men, suspected of being part of one of the largest factions in the state, on Tuesday morning (23). The operation was launched in the city of Canoas, metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, and according to the investigation, the suspects are responsible for extorting traders in the region.

Police officers from the 3rd Police Station of Canoas – 2 DPRM carried out 44 precautionary measures including arrest warrants, search and seizure, seizure of assets and blocking of bank accounts. The targets were accused of drug trafficking, criminal association and extortion in the metropolitan region of the capital.

The investigation began in November 2023, when the owner of a motel reported being threatened into leaving his establishment so that the criminal organization could explore. The business is located in a red-light area in the city of Canoas, and belonged to the victim for more than 30 years.

The owner of the establishment told the police that two months before he was expelled from the place, the criminal faction had already banned call girls from using the motel, which caused a decrease in customers. On the day he was expelled, the merchant said that three men arrived at the place, took control and forced him to leave the establishment, causing him a loss of R$500,000.

With control of the commercial point, according to the investigation, the criminal group began to extort call girls and customers who frequented the place. According to police officers, the faction charged call girls a daily fee of R$50 to work in the region. At the end of last year, a transvestite was reportedly shot for refusing to pay the amount.

During the progress of the investigation, the Police also discovered that call girls were extorting their clients, recording their entry or exit from the place, and threatening to release the videos to the family. Delegate Luciane Bertoletti stated that one of the blackmail requests the amount of R$20,000 so that the images would not be shared.

In addition to the motel, criminals also took control of a drive-in in the same region. The Civil Police estimates that, on a monthly basis, the faction's profit was at least R$200,000, R$150,000 from the motel and R$50,000 from the drive-in. This account does not include the amounts extorted from the call girls.

The group also maintained the practice of extorting other traders in the region, threatening to kill those who did not pay. In a video obtained by police officers, a criminal threatens a business owner and his family by showing a rifle.

The investigation points out that the criminal faction's purpose was territorial hegemony for sexual exploitation and drug trafficking. The police claim that a criminal who was imprisoned until April 2, commanded the group's actions inside a state prison. The man was previously in a federal prison and was transferred in 2020, as part of Operation Empire of Law. In early April, he was released from prison to undergo surgery and is now in an unknown location.

In total, civil police officers served five temporary arrest warrants and 15 search and seizure warrants. Documentation, cash, cell phones, a firearm, a car and a motorcycle were found with the suspects.

Source: CNN Brasil

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