Suspect in $70M Brazilian Bank Heist Found Dead

Man accused of being involed in tunnel raid on Brazil's Central Bank found at bottom of well


A man accused of helping steal more than $70 million in cash from a branch of Brazil's central bank in 2005 was found dead on a remote ranch, authorities said Sunday.

Anselmo Oliveira Magalhaes, 32, was found by police on Saturday with a broken neck and his hands and feet tied inside a 75-foot well at the ranch in the interior city of Santa Izabel, said Luciana Araripi, a spokeswoman for the Sao Paulo state Public Safety Department.

Magalhaes was one of nearly 40 people formally accused of taking part in the August 2005 heist - one of the world's largest ever - at the central bank branch in Fortaleza, 1,500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo.

The bodies of two other men were found in the well, but it wasn't immediately clear whether they had any connection to the bank heist, authorities said. Two women at the ranch were detained for interrogation.

An anonymous tip led police to the ranch, authorities said. Magalhaes' relatives had reported him missing since Thursday.

Magalhaes was arrested shortly after the heist and police said he confessed to being one of the men who helped build a tunnel that led into the central bank branch. He was freed pending trial.

Authorities said most of the people formally accused in the heist allegedly belonged to the First Capital Command gang, one of Brazil's most notorious organized crime groups.

Some $8 million of the stolen cash has been recovered throughout Brazil since the heist.


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