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June 20-26, 2024 | Issue 25 - SOUTHCOM and Extremism Teams

Kiara Alexander; Joseph Pollard; Hae Lim Park; Marta Vanti

Christina Valdez, Editor; Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor

Unidentified Gunmen Fire Into Crowd, Killing Seven and Injuring Two[1]

Date: June 20, 2024

Location: Viçosa do Ceará, Ceará, Brazil

Parties involved: Brazil; Brazilian law enforcement; Brazilian drug trafficking gangs; Secretary of Security of Ceará, Roberto Sá; Ceará emergency services; victims of the attack; the unidentified gunmen; local residents

The event: On Thursday, around 0300 local time, unidentified gunmen killed seven individuals and injured two at a celebration in the city square. The victims were celebrating when two vehicles approached the gathering and executed the attack. Security camera footage shows the unidentified gunmen shooting the victims, with their hands on their heads, at point-blank range before fleeing the scene.[2] At a press conference, Sá stated, "We are still investigating. The line is involvement with drug trafficking, without a doubt.”[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Due to the calculated and violent nature of the attack, the perpetrators are almost certainly members of an organized group, such as a narco-trafficking gang. The attack is almost certainly intended to communicate a message to an opposing organization, likely as part of a territorial dispute in the Viçosa do Ceará area. Retaliatory violence between drug traffickers is very likely, with civilian and emergency service casualties likely to occur through being caught in the crossfire.

  • The recurring massacres in Viçosa do Ceará will likely undermine community trust in local authorities and law enforcement, leading to heightened fear and potential social instability. The distrust will likely discourage residents from reporting crimes or cooperating with investigations, perpetuating a cycle of insecurity. The resulting fear and anxiety will likely cause social fragmentation, weakening the community's social fabric. Diminished trust in law enforcement will likely lead to increased vigilante actions and escalating violence, making it difficult to restore order and ensure long-term security.

Date: June 23, 2024

Location: San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru

Parties involved: Peru; Peruvian Armed Forces; Peru law enforcement; Mayor of San Juan de Lurigancho, Jesús Maldonado; San Juan de Lurigancho citizens; 78 female trafficking victims; Human and drug trafficking gang, Tren de Aragua; young women vulnerable to trafficking

The event: The authorities caught around 183 individuals in an underground bunker with illicit substances and firearms during an operation at the Perú Chela disco bar. Law enforcement uncovered 78 women who were reportedly victims of human trafficking. Intelligence initiated the operation when it found that two foreigners, allegedly linked to the Tren de Aragua, would be at the Perú Chela disco bar for the planning of criminal activities. Law enforcement will identify those arrested and the origin of the weapons, stating that the detainees are possibly involved in illicit drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons, extortion, and armed robbery.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Law enforcement will very likely continue to investigate the Perú Chela disco bar to confirm the involvement of human trafficking groups. Law enforcement will likely investigate the 78 women who were reportedly victims of human trafficking, aiming to uncover the human trafficking network operating inside and outside of the bar. The large number of women involved in the operation likely indicates a high possibility of an international human trafficking network outside of Peru, likely targeting young women’s involvement in criminal activities that lead to entrapment.

  • The operation at disco-bar Perù Chela will likely heighten community awareness and concern about human trafficking and organized crime. This increased awareness will likely lead to more vigilant citizens who are likely to report suspicious activities and advocate for stronger measures from authorities to protect vulnerable populations. Sustaining this community and engagement will likely require ongoing education campaigns, accessible victims support services, and transparent communication between law enforcement and the public. These efforts are likely to be crucial in fostering lasting partnerships and ensuring sustained public involvement in crime action initiatives.


[1] Gun, generated by a third party database

[2] Brutal massacre in northeastern Brazil: seven people executed in a square, Infobae, June 2024, (Translated by Google)

[3] Secretary of Security points out involvement of victims of massacre in Viçosa do Ceará with trafficking, Diario do Nordeste, June 2024, (Translated by Google)

[4] Desmantelan búnker del crimen en un disco-bar de SJL: 183 personas intervenidas, armas y drogas incautadas, Infobae, June 2024, (Translated by Google)



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