The Crachá Preto (English: Black Badge) was a Brazilian paramilitary gang that operate in São Paulo.
They considered themselves as vigilantes clearing crime in São Paulo, but they are just another gang who are highly professional and paid by right wing politicians. This made them a local mercenary force instead.
In the organ harvesting scandal, Max Payne single handily wiped out the gang with their leaders, HQ and nearly the entire members, effectively destroying the gang.
Description and overview
Members and activities
The Crachá Preto was made up of off-duty and former police officers, soldiers, prison guards and firefighters led by former rogue police Captain Álvaro Neves. At some point in 2007, Milo Rego, a psychopathic ex-soldier, was recruited in the gang and overtime became Neves' friend, bodyguard and right-hand man and the second-in-command of the gang. Its known activities were extortion, blackmail, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, kidnapping, murder, and torture. The gang's estimated size was around 400 members. The gang members were extremely well-armed and equipped. The gang had a strong proficiency with ranged weapons.
The name Crachá Preto (Portuguese for "Black Badge") was coined because officers used to cover up the name and unit tags on their uniforms before vigilante attacks.
Relations with politicians
The gang had close ties to high-ranking officials and politicians in São Paulo. The gang was suspected of influencing political campaigns through voter intimidation.
The gang's victims were often found dismembered, secretly buried, or burned, making identification almost impossible. They were known for their use of torture, including castration, electric shock and asphyxiation.
The Crachá Preto was formed in 2006 by a group of rogue officers who started carrying out extrajudicial killings in under-policed areas of São Paulo, including Álvaro Neves, who became the gang's leader.
Over the years, the gang's members promoted themselves as a “community self-defense force”, but actually, they were a little more than a death squad for hire.
The gang was initially financed by members of the business community and other wealthy residents to eliminate thieves, drug dealers and other social undesirables.
Criminal acts and war over São Paulo
The Crachá Preto was allegedly responsible for the massacre of more than 200 homeless people in 2008. Between 2006 and 2009, the gang's activities were focused on taking control of favelas from gang members.
The gang has a pattern of winning over favela residents by ousting drug dealers, then imposing their own autocracy on the community. Militia members take over the water, gas and cable supplies, in addition to charging a ‘security tax’ for protection.
Police sources indicate an increased focus on arms/drugs trafficking and political assassinations since 2009.
They were believed to be responsible for the murders of up to 90 local politicians, judges, witnesses and community leaders between January 2010 and December 2011. The gang kidnapped and tortured two Spanish journalists who attempted to investigate them in 2010.
Human Rights organizations report a marked increase in missing persons from low income communities of São Paulo since 2010, claiming that the gang was responsible for this. The gang was also accused of planting crime scene evidence and staging executions to look like gang killings.
It is known that this gang was in a vicious gang war with the Comando Sombra, another gang who wants to take control of the city.
The Organ Harvesting Scandal and Downfall
Victor Branco is the Cracha Preto's employer who employ them to do his bidding without getting his hands dirty. The job they worked for him ranging from clearing land for the employer's brother, Rodrigo to having an elaborated scheme on making money from organ harvesting. They are usually pay in donation receipts.
Their latest job is to steal the ransom money between the Brancos and Comando Sombra for the ransom of Fabiana Branco in order to complicate the matters and justify the UFE used to boost his political career. However, Max Payne managed to kill many of its members before accomplishing the mission. Next few days, Victor hired the gang to eliminate Max Payne in return for revenge for the stadium while secretly distract the security for an assassin to kill Rodrigo.
They also helped the UFE raid Nova Esperanca favela and later bought kidnapped favela residents to be murdered and their organs harvested. They also necklaced Marcelo Branco and would have done the same to Giovanna Taveres if Payne didn't rescue her, killing Milo Rego in the process. They later attacked the two at a bus station but failed to kill them. Payne later attacked their headquarters, the Imperial Palace Hotel, and rescued their surviving prisoners before destroying the building, Passos kills Neves by shooting him in the head. Shortly afterward the organ harvesting scandal was exposed. With the destruction of their base and primary business, along with the death of so many of their members, including both their leader and co-leader, and the presumed arrest of any surviving members, the Crachá Preto was essentially destroyed.
The members of the Cracha Preto are usually consists of ex-cops, soldiers, firefighters and prison guards, mostly men who experience with a gun and service. Some members came from the infamous UFE which explain the friendly relationship between the Cracha Preto and UFE and its involvement in the Organ Harvesting Case.
Their employers are usually right wing politicians especially Victor Branco.
- Arthur Fischer - Surgeon working with the Crachá Preto (unknown-2012)
- Victor Branco - Employer (unknown-2012)
- Armando Becker - UFE commander and buyer (unknown-2012)
- Bachmeyer - UFE lieutenant and buyer (unknown-2012)
Unlike other criminal gangs in São Paulo, they have a standard uniform for identification. They usually wear a black or white shirt regardless sleeveless or not. They have flak jacket wear over them for protection in the gunfight and also extra ammo to carry. They also wear headset for communication between each squad.
They are also bald or buzz cut with Neves the only one with thick hair.
- Max Payne 3