Brazilian Former Pro Soccer Player Decapitated, Head Left On Doorstep Reportedly By Drug Lords

  • Rick Chandler

We’re sure that officials are making great strides in cleaning up the city’s problems with the World Cup and Olympics on the horizon. But the fact remains that Rio de Janiero is still a hot mess, regardless of who is responsible for Tuesday’s gruesome crime. Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos, who played pro soccer for several Brazilian teams as well as in Sweden and Honduras, was kidnapped and murdered on Monday, and police believe one of Rio’s notorious drug gangs are responsible.

Caution urged before reading the rest of this sentence: Santos’ severed head was left in a bag on his doorstep, which was discovered by his wife on Tuesday. The Daily Mirror:

Investigators are probing whether Mr Santos was murdered by a drugs gang because of Ms Silva’s work at a military police base in a local slum.

The ‘Police Pacification Unit’ in the Morro do Sao Carlos is one of dozens set up in Rio’s favelas to retake control of the city’s slums from violent drug traffickers.

However, according to police chief Rafael Rangel, Mrs Silva worked as a social worker in the base and didn’t patrol the streets or make arrests like other police officers.

Two weeks ago a powerful Brazilian drug gang promised “A World Cup of terror” if imprisoned members of their gang were transferred to a tougher facility as planned.


Santo, 35, who played for Bangu, Olimpia, Nacional and Swedish club Oster during his career, was kidnapped after leaving the local food store he owned in the district of Realengo.

The next morning, his wife, an officer with Rio’s Police Pacification Units (UPPS), found his backpack containing his severed head outside their house, with G1 Globo website reporting his eyes and tongue had been cut out.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the only beheading story of the year in this part of Brazil.

Meanwhile state prosecutors and several human rights organizations are investigating charges that military police in Rio are torturing and executing suspected drug gang members, and covering up the disappearances.

Photo: Getty Images.

READ: Brazil’s Largest Drug Cartel Promises ‘World Cup Of Terror’ [SportsGrid]

READ: FIFA Says It Will Halt Brazil World Cup Games If Stadiums Get Too Tear Gassy [SportsGrid]