The forces behind a private plane heading for Brussels from an airport in the north-east of Brazil have finally been revealed: one of the country’s leading drugs barons, a former military policeman now thought to be living in Dubai.
The story so far: In August police in Brazil received a tip-off that a major drugs shipment was getting ready to leave the airport at Pinto Martin-Fortaleza, heading for Brussels Airport. The flight was intercepted before it could even take off, and police filmed the moment when the sole passenger, 60-year-old Angel Alberto Gonzalez Valdes, a Spaniard living in Liege, was made to open his suitcase before police cameras, revealing the contents to be nothing but cocaine.
Altogether the luggage intercepted by officers contained to 1.3 million tonnes of cocaine, with a street value of approximately €65 million.
Both Gonzales and the pilot, a reserve captain in the Turkish national airline, were detained, despite the latter’s protests of innocence.
Last Sunday, Brazilian media reported that Gonzales had died in custody, something that had clearly been planned all along, since the man was in the terminal stages of cancer.
In the meantime, the investigation is now tracking down the true mastermind behind such a massive shipment of drugs to Europe. All eyes are on Sergio Roberto De Carvalho, a former major in the military police, in his sixties, who now goes by the name of Paul Wouter. He claims to be from Guyana, and lives in a villa in Marbella on the Costa del Sol.
De Carvalho has a history with private planes, according to Gazet van Antwerpen. Last year he narrowly escaped being ensnared by a Europol action by escaping in a private plane with his own pilot.
He is also accused of bringing 45,000 kg of cocaine to Europe via Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam.
De Carvalho has proved to be an elusive figure. The son of the owners of a snack-bar, he grew to be a major figure in the drugs trade. But despite various arrests, he was only fired from the military police in 2018.
In the same year, he was arrested in Spain in connection with the trafficking of 1.7 tonnes of cocaine. While awaiting his trial he was released, and promptly vanished. He remains at large.