Brazil’s federal police captured Luiz Carlos da Rocha, or ‘White Head’ this Saturday. One of the Latin America’s most-wanted drug lords, police say Rocha underwent plastic surgery to avoid capture.
His arrest, which federal police carried out under the moniker Operation Spectrum, involved coordinating with agency experts to confirm his identity. After plastic surgery, he had been going by the name of Vitor Luiz de Moraes.
Federal Police arrested ‘White Head’ at his property in Sorriso, Mato Grosso. Plainclothes police had been staking out the house for two weeks. Other police had been monitoring his property in Osasco, São Paulo, where police reported seizures of 2 million BRL in cash.
Rocha was wanted for international drug trafficking, money laundering, falsifying documents and forming a criminal organization, among other charges. Altogether, his criminal sentences add up to more than fifty years in prison.
The drug lord has 24 current separate court orders from six different cities in Brazil. These include numerous orders for seizure and search of properties and vehicles belonging to Rocha.
Although originally placed in prison in Curitiba, Rocha has since been moved to a different location by Brazil’s Feds. His new whereabouts remain undisclosed for security reasons.
White Head: a powerful figure
“White Head” is one of the most influential figures in Latin America’s drug trade. Some place him as more influential than Fernandinho Beira-Mar, the head of Rio’s dominant trafficking faction, the Commando Vermelho (CV).
According to police reports, Rocha coordinated trafficking activities from Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. He flew small aircrafts packed with cocaine into Mato Grosso, where he organized their next voyages across Brazil.
Police do not consider Rocha a violent criminal, maintaining diplomatic links with national and international traffickers. He worked with both the CV and their rival faction in São Paulo, the Primeiro Commando Capital (PCC) without conflict.
During the arrest, police also seized approximately $4.5 million, as well as almost one and a half tonnes of cocaine. However, this is a fraction of Rocha’s net-worth.
Police believe that Rocha is in possession of more than $100 million as a result of his criminal activities. This is spread out through multiple bank accounts in other countries, plus vehicles and properties registered under false names.
Federal Police plan to take measures to recuperate Rocha’s assets, as well as further missions to stem Rocha’s international operations. They will take steps in Paraguay, where they say Rocha also ran some of his operations.