Nine of the 15 people arrested last week as part of Operation Achilles – a two-year-long investigation centring on corruption, money-laundering and drug trafficking involving PJ top brass – have now been remanded in preventive custody.
As inquiries continue, serious allegations are appearing in the tabloid press.
A bit like Marquês – the probe into alleged multi-million corruption involving former prime minister José Sócrates – information that should be protected by Portugal’s ‘secrecy of Justice’ ruling is suddenly leaking in full-technicolour detail.
Leading the field is national tabloid Correio da Manhã which explains the whistleblower who alerted cops was a trafficker who had received death threats from a South American drugs cartel for ‘losing’ a consignment of cocaine.
In return for information, the trafficker got the protection he wanted – and ‘Achilles’ struck at the heel of the country’s investigative police force, the PJ.
Kingpins in the inquiry are a chief inspector working “for many years” in the drugs’ squad, and a former PJ coordinator.
They are suspected of receiving bribes for helping Colombian cocaine traffickers keep one step ahead of authorities.
According to CM, chief inspector Ricardo Macedo knew he was being investigated as far back as 2013. He allegedly cut phone contacts with the traffickers he is suspected of having been in cahoots with, and tried to ‘silence’ any potential witnesses.
CM suggests he even visited one of these in jail and threatened him with “death in jail” if he talked.
But Macedo’s so-called attention to detail failed him, says the paper. He was caught on a phone tap, telling a trafficker that he was now choosing the people he tipped off about police raids and investigations very carefully.
Just enough “so a chap can eat”, he is understood to have said – suggesting the money he received in return for information was very much needed.
Dias Santos, the former coordinator, was also ‘caught out’ by money, says CM. Around 20,000 euros discovered in his bank account led back to a trafficker.
GNR corporal, José da Silva was also among the 15 arrested in simultaneous raids up and down the country last week. He too has been remanded in police custody.
Jornal de Notícias reports that Dias Santos’ lawyer is hopeful that he can free his client from jail to house arrest, but this depends on an official report by Department of Social Reinclusion.