Brazil captured a notorious drug boss — then let him go

PCC kingpin André do Rap, convicted for international drug trafficking, walked free on a technicality, sparking a crisis within the Supreme Court

drug lord pcc supreme court brazil
Justice Marco Aurélio Mello ordered the kingpin’s release. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

In September 2019, Brazilian police arrested 43-year-old André Oliveira Macedo — a drug kingpin best known as André do Rap — after being on the run for six years. As one of the top brass of the First Command of the Capital (PCC) — Brazil’s largest organized crime gang — André do Rap was hiding out in a luxury mansion in the Rio de Janeiro beach town of Angra dos Reis.

The investigation that led to his arrest was long and painstaking, involving the collaboration of law enforcement agents from Italy and the U.S., as a result of André...

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