During the Vietnam War, American drug kingpins managed to move narcotics from Asia to New York with the help of U.S. military servicemen — using military planes. The plan, portrayed in the 2007 crime drama ‘American Gangster,’ was considered to be the largest heroin smuggling operation in U.S. history. Half a century on, the latest sting by Brazil’s Federal Police may have unveiled a similar, albeit smaller, drug-smuggling scheme.
The case began on June 26, 2019, a day that lives in infamy in the history of the Brazilian Air Force. In Seville Airport, 38-year-old Air Force Sergeant Manoel Silva Rodrigues was arrested with 39 kilos of cocaine stored in his hand luggage. He was serving as a flight attendant for the presidential convoy, being part of the backup team accompanying President Jair Bolsonaro to the G20 Summit of that year, in Osaka.