Rappers around the world have been striving for some time to look like dangerous thugs and project a seductive image for the consumption of their fans. In most cases this is far from reality, but there is a big exception in Brazil, a MC who went beyond appearances and had to leave the stages where he paraded his rhymes to become one of the most wanted bandits in the world.
André de Oliveira Macedo, known as André do Rap, is today the head of the “Sintonia do Tomate”, a sector of the PCC (First Command of the Capital) responsible for the international traffic of cocaine, the most important and millionaire in the organization.
It is he who handles the shipment of tons of PCC cocaine every month to various ports in Europe, especially to Italy, where its main ally, the Italian mafia ´Ndrangheta, which operates in the region of Calabria and is currently considered the largest criminal organization in the world.
Even though he is a fugitive and his main source of revenue is the international drug trade, the criminal has in his name a channel on the streaming platform Spotify with all his brief musical work, consisting of five tracks that are part of the album “Impact Total” and that add up to about 12 thousand views.
André was first arrested for drug trafficking in 1996 and served a good part of his sentence in the extinct Professor Flamínio Fávero House of Detention, known as Carandiru, in the northern part of São Paulo. There was at that time a rap scene being born inside the prison. Important groups such as 509-E and Detentos do Rap were successful on the radio and many other smaller groups tried to follow a similar path, seeking a way out through music. It was there in the galleries of the largest chain in Latin America that the drug dealer composed his first lyrics.
The biggest success of his short stage career is perhaps the song that gives the album its name. Here are some excerpts from the lyrics that help to understand a little more about André do Rap’s style and personality.
“Suffering, pain and heartache, a hairy world
André do Rap, a warrior, armed and dangerous
Frontline, spokesperson for the periphery
Several tons crushing cowardice”
“Try to get informed, train yourself
To hit the system and shake it
Businessman will tremble, kitty will run”
“Hey, loki, you don’t buy me
For my rap, there’s no cloth
System, I arrived, I’m on the air
The front-line sound of black type A”
Starting in the middle of the last decade, the PCC began an important movement that completely changed the dynamics of crime in Latin America. Instead of just buying the drug at the border and reselling it in the territories it dominated, the faction controlled the production of cocaine in producing countries, eliminated the intermediaries who made the sale in Paraguay, consolidated the overland route to the Port of Santos and made agreements with criminal organizations in Europe that started to buy the drug in the old continent.
But to get the cocaine safely there, it was necessary to expand the domain inside the port. That’s when André do Rap became big people in the organization. Having grown up in Favela Portuária, a few kilometers from the Port of Santos, he knew the banditry of the coastal city like few others. Along with his comrades Hair Duro and Fuminho, he was responsible for creating the “Sintonia do Tomate” and through corruption and violence, transforming the largest port in Latin America into the exclusive territory of the PCC.
With the support of André and his strategic contacts, the organization infiltrates agents in the bars of the port area, prostitutes, waiters and other figures of the night to co-opt sailors, employees and anyone interested in helping to get the drugs onto the ships.
Santos is now known in police circles and by sectors of the press as “Nova Cali” in reference to the city of Cali, in Colombia, cradle of the Cali Cartel of the brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela. Colombians, unlike their rivals in the Medellín Cartel, preferred to use corruption rather than violence, which was only used as a last resort to achieve their goals. The money they poured everywhere gave them the status of respectable businessmen in society, a model on which the CCP has been trying to draw inspiration to ensure its operations in the seaside city.
While in recent years the CCP has sophisticated its methods and has grown rapidly in the structure of global crime, the police have continued to carry out useless operations in the favelas, exposing residents to unnecessary risks and killing with their “stray bullets” young people and children, mostly black. , in the name of an alleged fight against drug trafficking.
This unintelligent movement of the security forces ended up strengthening the CCP, as the more people they arrest in the name of the drug war, the more soldiers are handed over to the organization, which already has more than 30,000 affiliated members inside and outside of prisons.
Realizing this, albeit belatedly, in recent years the PF started tracking the traffickers’ money and obtained significant results in operations such as Rei do Crime, which caused damage to the faction.
In September 2019, the Civil Police found and arrested André do Rap in a mansion in Angra dos Reis following the trail of a boat valued at R$ 6 million that was in the name of a person without fiscal capacity for such a valuable asset. The criminal turned himself in without resisting and his image being driven in handcuffs in his own helicopter was repeated to exhaustion in the newscasts as a great symbol of hope in the fight against organized crime.
What no one expected is that a few months later, in October 2020, the country’s biggest drug trafficker would walk out the front door of Penitentiary II, in Presidente Venceslau, thanks to a breach in a new law that was part of the anti-crime package, created by the former -Minister Sergio Moro and sanctioned by Jair Bolsonaro, who said that preventive detention must be justified every 90 days, at the risk of becoming illegal imprisonment.
Whether it was luck, the astuteness of the lawyers or some other obscure method, nobody knows, but there was a delay in this justification of preventive detention and the defense appeal fell well into the hands of the STF minister Marco Aurélio, known for being extremely guaranteeing and who only fulfilled the law.
André pledged to await trial in freedom at an address in Guarujá provided by his lawyers, but he never showed up there. The criminal fled and once again assumed the “Tomato Tuning”, but now with even more power.
First, because he won an internal dispute between the PCC and his rival Gegê do Mangue, a former boss who was murdered in Ceará in a cinematic action. And second, because Marcola’s strong man on the streets, Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos, known as Fuminho, had been arrested in Mozambique and extradited to Brazil a short time before.
Freed, André do Rap definitely entered the premium list of the most wanted by the DEA (US anti-drug agency) when American agents found members baptized by the Brazilian faction in Miami, Florida. Security forces from around the world such as the Italian ROS, Interpol, the Brazilian Federal Police, among other polices that fight organized crime, offer a very high prize for the head of the Baixada Santista rapper who made the lyrics he wrote his own reality.
This story is told in the second season of the series “Primeiro Cartel da Capital” which I directed for UOL, and which counts on the investigation of great police reporters such as Josmar Jozino, Marcelo Godoy, Allan de Abreu, Flávio Costa, Cândido Ruiz and Luís Adorno . The two new episodes will air for free this Tuesday (27), on UOL.