Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Paraguayan police on Wednesday killed three presumed members of the Brazilian criminal organization Comando Vermelho, or Red Commando, during a raid in which authorities said they seized weapons and an automobile filled with 50 kilograms of dynamite.
Members of the National Paraguay Police killed the three suspects, who were heavily armed, and seized a cache of weapons that included enough dynamite to explode an entire block of houses, Jorge Fernandez, chief of police of Alto Parana, said.
The police operation was carried out at 5 a.m. local time in a house about five miles south of Asuncion, and also led to the discovery of a high-precision rifle with capacity to reach targets at 3,300 feet, found mounted on a tripod. Other weapons included rifles and hand grenades, the report added.
The country's Interior Minister, Juan Villamayor, said the raid was possible thanks to information obtained during a similar police operation on Oct. 4, when weapons were found and members of the same group detained during a raid in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion.
The dynamite-loaded vehicle seized Wednesday was likely going to be taken to the capital and used in an attempt to free the jailed group leader Marcelo Pinheiro, imprisoned in Paraguay since December 2017, Villamayor added.
Another option could have been a heist similar to a heist in April 2017, in which gunmen possibly made off with millions of dollars in a raid on a private security firm in Ciudad del Este.
The Red Commando has roots going back to the 1960s and 1970s in Brazil, when members of radical political organizations were jailed together with the most dangerous criminals in a Rio de Janeiro jail.
At that time, an organization of jailed political radicals formed a self-defense group along with some criminals that became known as Red Phalanx, which preceded the Red Commando. The group later became involved with drug trafficking and other criminal activities.
In recent decades the organization has exclusively served criminal purposes and lacks any ideology, according to reports.