Federal Police agent Alexandre Saraiva has made serious allegations about the involvement of Bolsonarista politicians with what he called the “Crime Lobby” in the Amazon. Among those mentioned are senators Jorginho Mello (PL-SC) and Telmário Mota (Pros-RR), in addition to federal deputy Carla Zambelli (PL-SP). “We have a crime scene. A lobby, in my opinion, of thieves”, said Saraiva, in an interview with GloboNews. The policeman served for more than a decade in forest investigations.
“Thieves, even in the way they behaved on a day when I was invited to attend the hearing in the Chamber of Deputies, at the Participatory Legislation Commission. I, who have been to so many criminal hearings, with lawyers and criminals sitting in front of me, have never been so disrespected by criminals there, in the Chamber”, he added. In addition to the parliamentarians, Saraiva mentioned former Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.
“I will name names: Zequinha Marinho, Telmário Mota, Mecias de Jesus, Jorginho Mello (from Santa Catarina) sent a letter. Carla Zambelli went there too, defending a logger along with Ricardo Salles”.
The Federal Police officer’s complaint has had repercussions among politicians and journalists, and quickly spread through social networks. “Federal Police agent Alexandre Saraiva reveals the neglect and criminal relationships of the Bolsonaro government and its allies with illegal activities in the Amazon,” said Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE). Federal deputy Helder Salomão (PT-ES) added: “Delegate Saraiva denounces the Bolsonaro government’s ‘Amazon mafia’ and cites names”.
GloboNews journalist Leilane Neubarth said she was “appalled” and “mesmerized by the clarity of Federal Police Agent Alexandre Saraiva about the ills, crimes, wrongdoings and irregular political support in the Amazon”.
In a recent interview with journalist Marcos Uchôa, Saraiva pointed out that there are solutions to crime in the Amazon, but a lack of political will. “From an operational point of view, it is not difficult. In six months it is possible to end illegal mining and logging. Overcoming bureaucratic limitations and achieving the political will is another story (…) Seeing where the problem lies is easy (…) The trafficking of wood is not like cocaine, it takes up a lot of space. Documentary falsity is easily observed from the administrative process”.
Uchôa commented on Saraiva’s accusations: “It’s the indignation of a police officer shocked by politicians who defend criminals. That’s a lot of money stolen and embezzled on the Amazon! Who benefits? Just go back and find out. Deputy Saraiva was doing so. Federal government removed him. Why?”.
Saraiva’s accusations deepen widespread outrage over the disappearance of indigenist Bruno Pereira and English journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon. Both worked to denounce such crimes in the forest.
Regarding the case, Saraiva said that Bruno helped in an operation that destroyed 60 rafts belonging to illegal miners in the Amazon, when he was working at the National Indian Foundation (Funai). Soon after, he was removed from his duties by Bolsonaro’s office, following orders from former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, in coordination with then Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.
Alexandre Saraiva stands out in the fight against the Jair Bolsonaro government disrespect for environmental issues and the “official” defense of groups that operate illegally in the Amazon: loggers, prospectors, real estate speculators, among others. Saraiva commanded the largest seizure of illegal wood in the country’s history in 2021.
In an unprecedented reaction by the Brazilian government, he was then removed from his position after denouncing Environment Minister Salles for obstructing investigations. His complaint reached the Federal Supreme Court.