Federal Police Arrests Military Stationed at Funai on Suspicion of Illegal Leasing of Indigenous Land

Appointed in the Bolsonaro government, inactive Navy NCO brokered leases for ranchers

This Thursday (17) Federal Police arrested the inactive Navy soldier Jussielson Gonçalves Silva, the regional coordinator of National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) in Ribeirão Cascalheira (MT), on the charge of intermediating the leasing of indigenous lands to cattle ranchers.

Silva is one of several soldiers who took over regional coordination of Funai in the Amazon under the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government. The Navy NCO was assigned to Ribeirão Cascalheira (782 km northeast of Cuiabá) on March 18, 2020.

The Res Capta operation, carried out jointly with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, involved around 50 federal police officers and aims to dismantle a scheme involving farmers, Funai employees and a leader from the Marãiwatsédé Indigenous Land, of the Xavante people.

The Maraiwatsede indigenous reserve, in Mato Grosso - Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Two other arrest warrants, seven search and seizure warrants and two court orders for removal from public office were served, according to the Federal Police.

According to the investigation, officials from the National Indian Foundation in Ribeirão Cascalheira charged values ​​from large farmers in the region with 15 leases within Marãiwatsédé. The amount of bribes reached R$ 900 thousand per month.

When contacted, Funai informed that the leasing of indigenous lands is prohibited and that the coordinator will be removed from office. The agency said it is available to collaborate with the investigations.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language