RIO DE JANEIRO – The Brazilian Federal Police has arrested at least 10 suspects in connection with the Hollywood-style heist at Spanish security company Prosegur’s office in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, police spokesmen told EFE on Tuesday.
Eight of the suspects were detained by police in the past few hours in the southern state of Parana, which borders Paraguay and Argentina.
Officers seized six rifles, two boats, seven vehicles, ammunition and several bullet-proof vests.
Two other suspects were nabbed Monday following shootouts with the security forces in São Miguel do Iguaçu and Itaipulandia, located on the border with Paraguay, that left three crooks dead.
Prosegur said the loot “did not exceed $8 million,” a figure that was well below the $20 million to $40 million cited in media reports.
Officials said the robbery was the work of the First Capital Command (PCC), a Sao Paulo-based criminal organization, whose members raided the Prosegur office near Ciudad del Este early Monday.
Brazilian President Michel Temer ordered security stepped up along the border and told the Justice Ministry and Federal Police to work with Paraguayan authorities on the robbery.
About 50 heavily armed PCC members participated in the heist, which left a police special response unit officer dead and another officer and two civilians wounded.
The robbers used four vehicles, including a truck, to transport gunmen and explosives, engaging police in a shootout before fleeing.
The PCC controls drug and weapons trafficking in the slums of Sao Paulo and other Brazilian cities.
PCC leaders reportedly run the criminal organization from the prisons of Sao Paulo state, and the gang has become Brazil’s largest crime group.
The PCC, also known as the “crime party,” first attracted attention in February 2001, when it launched coordinated uprisings in 29 Sao Paulo prisons that left 30 dead and went on for three days.