“According to the investigation, the criminal organisation extended its illicit activities abroad, promoting the activity of raising financial resources from third parties in the United States, Portugal and other countries”, reads the statement from the Federal Police. According to a Federal Police statement, “one of the pilots responsible for transporting drugs” for the cartel led in the 1980s and 1990s by Escobar facilitated the “extension of the group's illicit activities” abroad.

The joint operation with the participation of the Public Ministry determined that the group's "activities" in the United States were "structured" by the pilot, who travelled to North America "with a false passport". The authorities have not identified the pilot, but according to local media it is Brazilian Ricardo Rodrigues Gomes, who in 2006, after 17 years of evading justice, was arrested in São Paulo and served eight years in Rio de Janeiro for international trafficking drug.

However, Rodrigues Gomes is also considered a fugitive by the United States, where he was convicted of transporting a tonne of cocaine to the Medellin Cartel in 1989 on a plane belonging to the now-defunct Varig airline that flew between Rio de Janeiro and Miami. The Federal Police indicated that the pilot used false documents, such as invoices without origin, to “justify the circulation of bank deposits” in the accounts of a publicly-held company in the United States, which, in turn, delivered them in cryptocurrencies “to the leader of the criminal organisation”.

In the operation which took place this week, which is the fourth phase of Operation Kryptos, 25 Federal Police agents served five preventive arrest warrants and four search warrants in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Cabo Frio and placed the names of other suspects on Interpol's red list. The pilot and other members of the criminal organisation are allegedly in the United States.