POLICE in Brazil have captured a notorious Portuguese drug baron sought for criminal association, heroin trafficking and money laundering. Franquelim Pereira Lobo, who will now have to complete a 25-year prison sentence imposed earlier, had a reputation as one of the most powerful drug traffickers in Europe. He operated from near Malaga in Spain, where he owned various properties valued at several million euros. Brazilian Federal Police arrested the 50-year-old suspect in a small village, accompanied by members of the Central Bureau of Investigation of Portugal’s Judicial Police. Lobo’s arrest follows the detention, in January, of his alleged right-hand man – 48-year-old Porfírio Santa Filomena Tomar – who has already been extradited to Portugal to complete a 14-year prison sentence.
Police first arrested Franquelim Lobo in Malaga last April, after an international arrest warrant for his capture had been issued. But a legal technicality led to his temporary release before his first court appearance. Franquelim then managed to flee the country, travelling between various countries in Europe, Africa and South America.
Franquelim had already evaded police on a previous occasion. Two years ago, he had promised to assist authorities in helping to intercept a drugs haul and was staying under armed guard in a hotel in Lisbon’s Avenida Duque de Loulé. Later, he managed to escape through a window while two policemen slept nearby.