Summarized by Kent Larsen
'Gun Toting' LDS Congressman fights organized crime in Brazil (Crimebusters in congress amaze Brazilians by exposing state drug role )
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'Gun Toting' LDS Congressman fights organized crime in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL -- Since April a commission of 19 members of
the Brazilian congress, including LDS Church member and returned
missionary Moroni Torgan, have conducted the most successful war on
organized crime in Brazil in at least 20 years. Already the
commission has helped imprison 39 people, including one member of
congress accused of slicing-off victims' limbs with a chain saw. The
commission's success has led some to call them 'the untouchables'
after the FBI agents under Elliot Ness that tried to fight organized
crime in Chicago in the 1930s.
"The commission," said David Fleischer, professor of political
science at Brasilia university, "has done more in a few months than
[police and judges] have done in 20 years. It has dug into the
problem. It has found a national conspiracy and showed how [drug
revenue] is laundered through the banking system.'
The commission had also "destroyed the common image that drug traffic
is only in the hands of marginal criminals," says Fleischer. "It involves
banks, business people, people of high society, politicians, mayors,
people in state governments. We knew it was going on but we didn't
know the broad swath of people involved." One reason for the group's
success is that it was given stronger investigative powers than those
the police have by the Brazilian congress, but the commission can't
make arrests itself.
The commission is led by Magno Malta, a signing evangelical priest
who was once addicted to drugs, but beat the addiction. He later was
elected to the Brazilian Congress. Torgan, the LDS member of congress
on the commission, is a former police officer with first-hand
knowledge of organized crime. He represents the state of Cear·, where
he was also vice-governor.