Face-changing cocaine kingpin caught after eluding police for 30 years using plastic surgery (Photos)
A notorious drug kingpin on the run for three decades has been arrested in a series of raids by Brazilian police.
Luiz Carlos da Rocha – nicknamed ‘White Head’ and thought to have built up a cocaine empire worth £75million – was held in an operation involving 150 police officers in the western state of Mato Grosso.
Da Rocha had plastic surgery in an attempt to evade the law but investigators, who compared up-to-date imagery with old photographs of the suspect, insist they have got the right man.
His criminal network produced an estimated five tons of cocaine each month in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.
The organisation allegedly flew cocaine through Venezuelan airspace into remote farms in western Brazil, before being distributed in special lorries to the country’s big cities or to be flown elsewhere to supply South America, the US and Europe.
He had been sentenced in his absence to more than 50 years in prison but, until now, officers say he ‘lived discreetly and in the shadows’.
Da Rocha was living in the city of Sorriso under the asumed name Vitor Luiz de Moraes.
Officers from Operation Spectrum targeted his hide-out – arresting him, his allies and seizing £7.7million of assets including luxury cars, aircraft, farms and property.