A man alleged to be employed by Portuguese football club Benfica was arrested at the end of July suspected of being linked to a drug network that imported cocaine from South America. Jornal de Notícias carries the story this morning (August 27), saying the man was arrested driving a car owned by Benfica, from which police apprehended 9.5kgs of cocaine.
JN says the arrest was missed by the media at the time because authorities rarely if ever reveal names when publicising arrests.
The alleged employee, José Carriço, is believed to have been in charge of Benfica’s department that supports footballers with “bureaucratic and logistic issues such as buying cars and homes”.
According to JN, Carriço is suspected of having held non-club related meetings at Benfica’s Luz stadium, where he was seen “over 10 times meeting with Colombian citizens”.
The Colombians used “Door 18” to enter the stadium, and thus JN claims the police investigation was dubbed ‘Porta 18’.
Whether or not Benfica bosses were aware of these meetings, however, was not explained.
For now, the club is playing it safe, with spokesperson João Gabriel saying the case is a “matter of justice involving José Carriço, and has nothing to do with Benfica”.
The arrest happened at the end of July on the A1 motorway.
The PJ’s official statement said only that “two men, aged 54 and 58, were arrested” for being linked to a “criminal organisation that imported drugs, mostly cocaine, from South America”.
Carriço, who is said to have started his career at Benfica as a driver for president Luís Filipe Vieira, is now in jail, awaiting formal charges.
More details are expected to emerge in the next few days.