BOA VISTA, Brazil, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Local government officials in Brazil’s Roraima state said at least 33 inmates were killed, some of them decapitated, in a prison riot led by a drug gang.
The riot began in Boa Vista’s Penitenciária Agrícola de Monte Cristo on Friday at about 2:30 a.m. when inmates broke the locks of their cells and invaded a separate wing of the prison, where the killings occurred.
Uziel Castro, the local secretary of justice, told BBC News that a Special Operations Battalion team and military police officers brought the situation under control.
Castro said the killings were carried out by the First Command in the Capital, or PCC, drug gang. There were 1,500 inmates at the prison and 15 officers at the time of the incident, Jornal O Globo reported.
The PCC gang is one of Brazil’s largest, earning more than $32 million a year in drug sales with about 13,000 members.
At least 60 people died, including several by decapitation, during a 17-hour riot in Manaus’ Anisio Jobim prison on Sunday. A total of 1,229 inmates were housed in the prison, which has an intended capacity of just 500. At least 40 of the 87 inmates who escaped from the Manaus prison have been recaptured.
It is unclear if the riots are connected, but some Brazilian officials believe that to be the case, saying Roraima was an act of revenge for Manaus.