Drug mafias hire “professional assassins”

Lisbon scene of two recent ‘settling of scores’ 

PJ and PSP police are following the ‘settling of scores’ between drug traffickers in the city with increasing concern.

Expresso reports there have been two incidents in the capital recently – one of them involving Syrians with Danish passports.

“Small mafias are resorting more frequently to violence and professional methods”, a police source told the paper.

They “want to follow the bad examples of other countries where there are bloodbaths whenever deals go badly”, he said.

“It has simply been luck that we haven’t yet had cases with bodies scattered over the street”.

Last week, two incidents took place in what is a very large area dubbed ‘Greater Lisbon’. The first, in Odivelas, involved two Syrian men in possession of Danish passports parking outside a motorcycle stand (they arrived on a scooter). One went inside and fired a Glock 19 (a model used by police forces) at the 25-year-old son of the owner, hitting him in the arm and the back.

The two men then ‘fled’ in the direction of Loures, with the owner of the stand (the injured young man’s father) on their tail in his car.

In Santo António de Cavaleiros, near a school, the father managed to drive into the scooter, sending the two Syrians flying. Shots were then exchanged. One of the Syrians ended up “gravely injured and on the ground” – at which point INEM (emergency medical services) were called.

“On the tarmac lay the men’s helmets, the Glock and some of the bullets”, says Expresso.

The second Syrian “tried to get away, but ended up being arrested by the PSP”.

The case passed to the PJ (as it would, bearing in mind it involved a crime of attempted murder).

“This was a settling of scores due to drug dealing”, a source for the PJ takes up the story. “The owner of the (motorcycle) stand has a long history connected to trafficking. There are strong suspicions that the men with Danish passports were professional assassins hired to do a ‘clean up’ (in this case meaning ‘to kill someone’).

Neither of the men have any connection with Portugal. One is now in preventive custody; the other will be going the same way once he has recovered from his injuries.

Only a few days after this incident, again in Santo António de Cavaleiros, a woman was injured by flying glass from the windscreen of the car (a Mercedes) that she was getting into just as shots were fired at it from a passing car, without a number plate.

“The authors of the shots fled without leaving a trace”, says Expresso.

In this case, the shooters’ target is believed to have been the woman’s husband, the PJ source explains. He too has a record for drug-dealing, and, according to information, narrowly escaped an attempt on his life in 2021 when the car he was driving was hit by machine gun fire.

According to the paper, the PJ is investigating these attacks to try and understand if they are part of a ‘contract taken out’ by “a rival’.

For the casual reader, none of this looks in the least bit inviting.

Real estate agents in Santo António de Cavaleiros may not be too delighted by Expresso’s ‘exposé’, either.

But the paper has other locations that have suffered in a similar way over the last couple of years: Moita, Salvaterra de Magos, São João da Madeira and Braga.

They have all been linked to what the PJ calls ‘the settling of scores’ for deals that went pear-shaped in cocaine, heroin, and hashish.

In November 2020, a young man was ‘executed’ with two shots in Moita; in March last year a rapper was stabbed to death in Salvaterra de Magos; last summer a man was “tortured in the back of his car for hours in São João da Madeira”, and at the end of 2021 a young man shot by a rival in Braga, but fortunately survived.

Says Expresso’s Hugo Franco: “The most recent PSP report on this phenomena shows that crimes connected to trafficking are very often exercised against people who themselves are connected to this underworld. This is why the victims, for the most part, do not present complaints to the police.

“Authorities only get wind of these incidents when they career out of the control of the victims, like in the case of murders or serious bodily harm”, said the PJ source.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com