445kg of Cocaine "pasta base" found in Brazilian Senator's helicopter
Last week, an operation carried out by the Brazilian Federal Police seized a helicopter loaded with over 440kg of “pasta base” of cocaine. The load is worth about £3m, which after being processed into cocaine powder could be worth 10 times fold this amount.
Despite it being the second biggest seizure of drugs this year, the mainstream media didn’t show much interest in the story. This lack of interest is particularly worrying when the helicopter in question is owned by a company, property of a member of the House of Deputies, Gustavo Perrella, the son of Zeze Perrella, a Senator with connections with Aecio Neves, whom is trying to put his name forward for the next presidential elections.
The helicopter was found, ready to take off, at a farm that also belongs to the politician’s family. The pilot was an employee of the house of deputies in the State of Minas Gerais, as a personal assistant to Gustavo Perrella. Despite the helicopter being the property of a private company, both Gustavo and Zeze used their petrol allowances to fill the tanks of it. This year alone, the amount they spent in petrol, combined, its over £7.000.
First, Gustavo Perrella said that the pilot didn’t have his authorization and used the helicopter without his consent. Afterwards, he went back to say that he did know the pilot was going to use the machine, but he believed it was just for a private hire (which is also illegal, the helicopter in question is not licensed for private hires).
Zeze Perrella, a former president of the “Cruzeiro Footbal Club”, went from poor to millionaire since he started his political career in the late 90s. He owns luxury cars and a mansion on the richest neighbourhood of Belo Horizonte, but declared his estate to be worth less than £200.000 (which wouldn’t be enough to pay for his house alone).
Despite all the indications of involvement, both Gustavo and Zeze claim to know nothing about the drugs and so far the Federal Police is not treating them as suspects. Nor is the mainstream media, who were happy to accept the version that the super expensive operation was under the responsibility of the pilot and the other three people caught on the spot of the seizure.
Independent journalists and alternative media have been calling for more investigations and more coverage about the incident on the main newspapers and tv channels, but the story already seems to be dying out, despite all the contradictions between the parts involved.