Inside the luxury prison cell of Brazil's notorious drug baron

A Brazilian drug dealer has been found living in the lap of luxury - inside the Paraguay prison cell where he is serving a seven-year sentence.

Published: 02nd August 2016 09:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2016 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

A Brazilian drug dealer has been found living in the lap of luxury - inside the Paraguay prison cell where he is serving a seven-year sentence.

Jarvis Chimenes Pavao, 42, bribed his jailers to turn a blind eye to his flat-screen television, library, air conditioning and en-suite bathroom.

While other prisoners festered in pitiful conditions in the Tacumbu prison, near the capital, Asuncion, he had a dining table, living room and art-filled suite. A refrigerator, freezer and fitted kitchen units were on hand for refreshments, while at night he retreated to a comfortable double bed.

The drug lord also had his own gym equipment, fitted wardrobes for his collection of flashy attire and a personal computer for any work-related needs.

Tacumbu prison is notoriously overcrowded, and as of 2010 was holding 3,000 people in a space for 1,200.

Chimenes Pavao was arrested in December 2009, following a joint operation by Paraguayan, Brazilian and US police. Detained in a lavish mansion on the Brazil-Paraguay border, he was accused of a trafficking career stretching back over 15 years.

He traded drugs and guns with Colombia's Farc guerrillas, branched out into Bolivia, and oversaw a delivery empire complete with private planes. A beer factory and car dealership served as front companies.

He was due to be extradited to Brazil, where he faced a 17-year sentence.

But when guards found an explosive hidden in the walls of the prison, believed to be in preparation for a jail break, they entered his cell and found the suite. "Six or seven justice ministers, and six or seven prison directors" took bribes from Chimenes Pavao, said Laura Acasuso, his lawyer.

Carla Bacigalupo, the justice minister, has been fired and in a tearful press conference denied anything to do with Chimenes Pavao's treatment. Her replacement, Ever Martinez, promised to destroy the cell, while Chimenes Pavao has been moved to another prison.

But Ms Acasuso said that the drug lord acted with full compliance of the authorities, contributing to the renovation of the prison, paying for lodgings for prison directors, and toilets for the guards. He even renovated the prison library and improved the cooks' salaries, he added.

Some inmates were also disappointed by Chimenes Pavao's removal. Prisoners revealed that Chimenes Pavao appeared to have been renting out the suite to those who could afford it.

"He was the most loved man in this prison," said Antonio Gonzalez, one of the prisoners, speaking to AFP.

The drug lord paid for a football pitch and chapel at the prison. "I don't know what's going to become of us without him," said another prisoner.


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