(Brasilia) The police in Brazil were mobilized on Wednesday for an operation aimed at dismantling a criminal network which intended to assassinate political figures, including the former Minister of Justice Sergio Moro, according to the Federal Police (PF).

“The purpose of this operation is to dismantle an organization that intended to go after public officials and elected officials,” the PF said, citing plans for “post-kidnapping homicides and extortion.”

“The attacks could have taken place simultaneously” in five Brazilian states, the Federal Police added.

Police sources confirmed to AFP that Senator Sergio Moro, ex-Minister of Justice of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, was one of the targets of this gang linked to the First Commando of the Capital (PCC), one of the main criminal factions that dominate drug trafficking in Latin America.

This former anti-corruption judge tweeted about a “CCP retaliatory plan” against him and thanked the officers.

In 2019, when he was minister, Mr. Moro ordered the transfer to high security prisons of the historic leader of the CCP, Marcos Willian Herbas, known as “Marcola”, and 21 other members of this faction.

A total of 11 arrest warrants were issued and nine suspects were arrested. The police also carried out 24 searches, in the capital Brasilia and in the states of Sao Paulo (southeast), Mato Grosso do Sul (center-west), Rondonia (north) and Parana (south), from where the senator Moro is from.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino, appointed in January by leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, confirmed that police had “identified a plan of homicides of several senior officials, including a senator and a prosecutor”, without cite by name.

As a judge, Sergio Moro rose to fame for his role in the anti-corruption mega-operation “Lavage-Express”.

In 2017, he sentenced Lula at first instance to more than nine months in prison for corruption and money laundering. The latter was imprisoned for 18 months in 2018 and 2019.

In 2021, the Supreme Court overturned all of Lula’s convictions, finding that Judge Moro had been “biased”.

This operation by the police quickly became the subject of political commentary, in a context of strong polarization in Brazil.

Former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, defeated in the last election by Lula, linked Moro’s assassination plan to the “left” without presenting evidence.

“In 2018, Jair Bolsonaro and now Sergio Moro. It can’t just be a coincidence,” he tweeted, referring to the stab in the stomach he received during his first presidential campaign.

“Absolute power at all costs has always been the goal of the left,” added Bolsonaro, who is currently in the United States.