At least six suspected members of the First Capital Command, or PCC, gang died and three other people were arrested during and after a shootout with police in Sao Paulo, officials said Tuesday.
A team comprised of 26 police officers on Monday night raided a parking garage near the Tiquatira "favela" or shantytown on the city's east side after receiving an anonymous tip that people alleged linked to the PCC, a gang devoted to drug trafficking, cargo robbery and other crimes, were meeting at the site.
Police spokesman Marcelo Gonzales - as quoted by Agencia Estado, Brazil's largest news agency - said that the suspects were crafting a plan to rescue a prisoner who was going to be transferred from a police lockup to a prison in Sao Paulo.
According to his account, after the officers burst into the parking garage, the suspects opened fire on them.
The shootout resulted in the deaths of six purported members of the PCC and the arrests of two women and a man who offered no resistance, while five other suspect managed to get away.
The officers, none of whom was injured, seized three vehicles, 3,000 reais (about $1,570) in cash, a shipment of marijuana and cocaine and an arsenal of weapons, among them some that are reserved for the exclusive use of the armed forces.
The PCC, the main criminal organization in Sao Paulo state, specializes primarily in drug and weapons trafficking and, police say, it has several bases along the border with Paraguay. EFE