'I only Regret Not Getting Richer,' Says Former Militiaman from Rio

Released after serving part of a ten-year sentence, a former member recounts how the Justice League took over part of Rio de Janeiro with violence and corruption

Rio de Janeiro

A life dedicated to Rio de Janeiro's largest militia has left the man who goes by the alias Mister M without feelings of remorse or guilt. Sentenced to about 10 years in prison for being part of the Justice League, he narrates with naturalness how the group grew and consolidated itself through violence and corruption. His only regret, he tells Folha, is not "getting richer." Named after the DC superhero team, the criminal group was formed in the early 2000s in Campo Grande, one of the most populous neighborhoods in the western zone of Rio de Janeiro, and quickly became the city's largest militia.

Rio de Janeiro, 11.08.2023 - Mister M. Foto: Pedro Prado/Folhapress - Folhapress

The former militiaman claims never to have killed anyone. When asked if he feels regret, he asserts that he "wanted to get more involved and get richer." Now, free, he claims not to be part of the group anymore. However, he doesn't lose the habit of instilling fear like a militiaman. Afraid of being identified and killed, he pulls the journalist's hand. He then pretends to light a lighter at the end of a pen and then puts it under one of the reporter's nails.

"Someone might catch you, put this pen with a hot tip under your nail. You'll tell my name to someone. With the slightest torture," he says. "If they catch you, it's not good in the trunk," he adds.

Asked if he has experienced this before, he says yes but that it was a "misunderstanding of the firm," as he calls the militia.

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