Founder of the Justice League, the largest militia in Rio de Janeiro, former councilor Jerônimo Guimarães Filho, known as Jerominho, was arrested again today (27) by the Civil Police of Rio.
According to the Civil Police, Jerominho was captured by Polinter (Division of Captures and Interstate Police) for having an arrest warrant for extortion with the use of an open firearm. The Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice reported that he was sentenced to seven years, one month and ten days in semi-open prison.
He was accused in 2005 of commanding the Justice League — a militia that controlled much of the capital’s West Zone — and of extorting, with the use of firearms, van drivers in Campo Grande and neighboring neighborhoods. Since 2015, Jerominho already had a conviction in the second instance, but he postponed the execution of the sentence with appeals to the higher courts, in Brasília. The last of them was only rejected by the STF (Supreme Federal Court) in October 2021, allowing the arrest warrant to be issued by the Justice of Rio.
At the time, the control of van cooperatives in Campo Grande and other neighborhoods in the West Zone was the target of a bloody war, with several drivers and leaders of associations killed, in addition to vehicles set on fire at the behest of militiamen. According to investigations carried out during the CPI (Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry) of the Militias, at Alerj (Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro), alternative transport generated R$ 2 million per month for the paramilitary group commanded by the former councilor.
Jerominho was a councilor in Rio de Janeiro for two terms, between 2001 and 2008, always elected with large votes — in the wake of the domination of communities by the Justice League. In the same period, he managed to make possible the election of his brother Natalino Guimarães – who in addition to being head of the militia was a gospel singer – as state deputy in 2006.
Jerominho and Natalino were arrested by Draco (Delegation for Repression of Organized Criminal Actions) in 2007, on charges of conspiracy. Even from jail, Jerominho was able to elect his daughter Carmen Gloria Guinancio Guimaraes Teixeira, Carminha Jerominho, councilor in 2009. However, she barely exercised her mandate, as she was arrested in 2009 for her participation in the paramilitary group.
Convicted, Jerominho and Natalino were imprisoned for almost 11 years, from December 2007 to October 2018. They served part of their sentence at the Federal Prison of Mossoró, in Rio Grande do Norte.
Attempt to return to politics
With the arrest of Jerominho and his relatives, the political power of the group began to decline. Carminha Jerominho unsuccessfully tried to be reelected councilor in 2012.
Already released, Jerominho joined the PMB (Brazilian Women’s Party) and even stated in interviews his intention to run for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 2020.
At the risk of having his candidacy barred by the Electoral Justice, he was content to nominate his niece Jéssica Rabello Guimarães as a candidate for vice-mayor on the ticket headed by Suêd Haidar, president of the PMB. Her brother’s daughter, she ran at the polls as Jessica Natalino.
In the same election, Carminha Jerominho again failed to be elected councilor.
Militia changed name
After the arrests of Jerominho and Natalino, several criminals took control of the Justice League. The militia changed its name in 2014, when Carlos Alexandre Braga, aka Carlinhos Três Pontes, took command of the group.
A former drug dealer, Três Pontes was killed by the Civil Police in 2017. He was succeeded in command of the group by his brother Wellington da Silva Braga, aka Ecko, who commanded an aggressive policy to expand the gang to the Baixada Fluminense.
Like his brother, Ecko was also killed by the Civil Police in June 2021. But the gang remains a family dynasty: Luiz Antônio da Silva Braga, known as Zinho, brother of Carlinhos Três Pontes and Ecko, became the leader of the group.