Amazonas governor targeted by police searches in pandemic probe

Amazonas governor targeted police
Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Brazil’s Federal Police carried out a series of arrests and search and seizure operations in the cities of Manaus and Porto Alegre this morning, as part of a probe into pandemic-related mismanagement. 

Among the locations searched by marshals was the home of Wilson Lima, the governor of Amazonas state. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Amazonas state health secretary Marcellus Campêlo, who is currently a fugitive from justice.

In January, Amazonas was the stage of the most dramatic episode of Brazil’s Covid-19 epidemic so far, when hospitals in state capital Manaus ran out of oxygen and dozens of patients suffocated to death in waiting rooms. Law enforcement is investigating whether this supply shortage was linked to criminal activity.

The Federal Police probe also targets business owners accused of overpriced contracts involving health supplies. Those under investigation could face up to 24 years in jail for bid-rigging and criminal organization, among other crimes.