The Tandera Militia, a notorious Brazilian criminal organization formed in the 1980s and allegedly commanded by Danilo Dias Lima, has been accused of laundering money through an obscure domestic cryptocurrency exchange. Brazilian militias are illegal paramilitary groups usually made up of former soldiers and police officers. Government officials claim that Lima has used militia funds to purchase luxury goods such as mansions, racehorses, and cars.
Alleged Money Laundering
The Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro (MPRJ) believes that the Tandera Militia used Tradingpfx Ecommerce, which now appears to be defunct, to launder money. An MPRJ-police operation in March resulted in the arrest of six suspected militia members and the seizure of evidence related to Marcelo Morais dos Santos, an alleged Tandera affiliate. Officers claim Santos moved over $32,000 in cryptocurrency between September 2020 and March 2021, and that a financial operator and partner of Tradingpfx Ecommerce also participated in the transactions. Police have evidence that this individual was responsible for laundering militia money through cryptocurrencies and traditional investments.
The raids were part of “Operation Epilogue,” launched by police and the ministry to investigate militia-linked crimes such as extortion, homicide, usury, and money laundering. These crimes allegedly took place primarily in the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, and Seropédica. Last month, organizers of a Brazilian cryptocurrency scam fled the country after raising $178 million from around 7,500 investors.
Despite the defunct state of Tradingpfx Ecommerce, the Tandera Militia’s use of cryptocurrency to launder money highlights the need for stronger regulation and oversight in the cryptocurrency industry. Criminal organizations will continue to exploit loopholes in the system if left unchecked, and it is up to governments and law enforcement agencies to stay vigilant in combating illicit activities.