Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 1999
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright:  Telegraph Group Limited 1999
Author: Nicole Veash, in Rio de Janeiro


Drug dealers in Brazil thought they had come up with the perfect Christmas
present for their best clients - a free CD for every five kilos of cocaine

But their plans came unstuck when the police raided the headquarters of the
Red Command, one of Brazil's most notorious criminal gangs. Apart from
seizing large quantities of drugs, the authorities also took possession of
hundreds of copies of "Prohibited Rap", a pirate CD the gangsters had
specially pressed for their regular customers.

One gang member now under arrest said: "It was the first time we had done
anything like this. It would have been a nice thank-you to our best
customers, the ones that brought more than five bags of cocaine. We were
trying to do something special."

The CDs came bearing the Red Command logo and a "Happy Christmas and Joyous
New Year" message on the sleeve notes. The compilation of tracks,
containing a dedication to a late drug dealer, Rogerio Lengruber, or "Pot
Head", celebrated violent crime, taking drugs and the killing of policemen.

The CDs were seized from a shack in the infamous Vila Cruzeiro slum of Rio
de Janiero, along with fake banknotes, 36 bags of cocaine and a quantity of
marijuana. Police also found a list of gang members who had ordered the CD
for their clients. The Red Command is one of Rio's most highly organised
gangs, with a chain of drug traffickers controlling dozens of slums,
including Latin America's largest shantytown, Rocinha.

Now police will concentrate on links between the bank note counterfeiters
and pirate CD companies. 
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