PAUL LIR: THE BRAZILIAN TRAFFICKER WHO DECEIVED EVERYONE
Paul Lir Alexander did a great good to society between 1990 and 1993. He also showed a deep contempt for her, committing her worst crimes.
He lived in a luxury Miami home with his second wife, Erica Souza. Around her, she owned two other residences: one for her mother-in-law, one for Erica’s sister, Marjorie. In the mansion, it maintained a central telephone with 40 lines and a center of monitoring where it spied in six televisions what happened in its properties. He introduced himself as an importer and exporter and lied to be a master in Economics.
At that time, crack and cocaine flooded the American metropolis, under the impotent gaze of the authorities. The repression was practically nothing more than arresting corner dealers or small local distributors. The police and the DEA, the American counter narcotics agency, realized that it was necessary to attack the origin of the problem: the Colombian cartels that supplied the market.
They just did not know how.
In 1990, Jerry Speziale, an underworld undercover officer, felt lost in the newly created DEA task force in New York. He spent his days trying to find a way to get to the cartels, without success. On one occasion, scouring the agency’s files on the computer, he came across a promising reference in a Colombian drug dealer’s account: “Negotiated with SGI-2002 confidential informer in São Paulo, Brazil, regarding 2,000 kilos of cocaine destined for New York “. When he asked the informant about a colleague in Miami, he heard a deep sigh from the other end of the line before he received the answer:
– Paul Lir Alexander. An incredible informant, impressive, with contacts everywhere. He works for a lot of money. He even made intelligence services for the Mossad (Israeli secret service) … But there’s a problem. He’s on our blacklist. He was doing something for us in Brazil, where he was not only involved in a corruption scandal, but also under suspicion of dealing with cocaine while working as an informant. The Brazilian press exposed it, and the story went out of control.
The Miami agent explained that while working as a DEA informant, the Brazilian had orchestrated a corruption scheme with the Rio police and, at the same time, negotiated with the Colombians. When the scandal broke, he fled to Miami. Untrustworthy, it had become useless.
“What’s his name?” Speziale insisted.
– Paul Lir Alexander. But also Pedro Chamorro, José Oscar Arguello, David Coleman. He has a dozen different names and pseudonyms. You will never find it.
Speziale flew to Miami in early 1990 and left messages everywhere the Brazilian had passed or could pass: “I am from the DEA and I want to clear your name.” A month later, Paul Lir phoned.
“Meet me tonight in the Sheraton lobby,” the Brazilian said.
“They’ll sniff you a mile away and kill you”
Then at age 35, Paul Lir was wearing designer clothes, ties, suspenders and Italian shoes. He wore a leather briefcase and had a Rolex on his wrist. Speziale appeared in jeans and a gym T-shirt. The Brazilian boarded him in a limousine. Speziale chattered the whole way. Paul Lir only opened his mouth when they sat down at a restaurant table.
“Let me explain something to you, Jerry. You act like a cop. You talk like a cop. You think like a cop. You smell like a cop. If you think you’ll get close to the cartels, you’re crazy. They’ll sniff you a mile away and then they’ll kill you.
Paul Lir then made an explanation about how the traffic worked. The cartels, he explained, were a complex association of traffickers, compartmentalized into countless cells with distinct specializations. There were producers, investors, transporters, money laundering experts, distributors. The groups responsible for each of these tasks changed from loading to loading. The compartmentalization assurance that if the police struck one stage of the business, could not reach the others. The whole system was designed to keep money separate from drugs, so that if there were seizure of one, the other would not be located. This broad structure was controlled by a small group of families in Cali.
In the book “Without a Badge”, unpublished in Brazil, in which he recounts the participation of Paul Lir as an informant of the DEA, Speziale reports that only at that moment did he understand the magnitude and sophistication of cartels. He realized that the reports he had access to were useless and that “the DEA had not scratched the surface” of drug trafficking.
“How do we break all this and get these guys?” she asked.
“The only way to get the cartel is to become part of it,” said Paul Lir.
The criminal’s proposal was to set up a transport cell, which the cartels most needed. According to Paul Lir, this was also the area he dominated. His plan was for the DEA to set up a frontier import and export company in some Latin American country and to offer the cartels a transportation scheme between that country and the United States. The fucking cell would receive the Colombian drug in a clandestine airstrip in Central America, refuel the cartel aircraft so that it flew back to Colombia and would deliver cocaine to the North American distribution networks. At that point, the police would try to seize the drug and arrest the distributors.
“Once we hand over the drugs to the distributors, let’s go with the money. Another team picks up drugs and distributors. There is only one detail, very important. It is absolutely imperative that we can always blame the failure on the other parties involved in the business. Because whoever has the cargo at the moment the business falls will be dead, “said the Brazilian.
Turning the game before a traffic court
To set up the scheme, Paul Lir demanded that his name be removed from the DEA blacklist and reinstated as an informant. He had discovered that the best way to get rich with drugs was not to be a drug dealer but to be an informant. The DEA guarantees rewards equivalent to 20% of the value seized. In return, he would teach everything he knew to the agent:
“I’ll teach you how to fly a plane and build an airstrip in the middle of the jungle.” I’ll recreate you.
Speziale was able to remove Paul Lir from the list. The Brazilian announced that they would go shopping at some of New York’s most expensive stores. While reconfiguring the agent’s style, he began making contacts. He talked to two secondary figures in the Colombian traffic, Avelino Devia Galvis and Alonso Tobon, and convinced them that they would make lots of money in the event of an association. In this way, he led them to tell the cartel that Paul Lir, known to Colombians as Oscar Arguello, and Speziale, renamed Geraldo Bertone, were trustworthy.
“The moment we put them to think of money, they’ll lie for us,” said Paul Lir.
He assured the Colombians that he was carrying drugs with a new partner, Geraldo Bertone, but that there had been a problem. They had introduced a charge of 400 kilos of cocaine in the United States, but the local customer did not have the money to pay.
“Do you know anyone who wants this load?” asked Paul Lir.
They arrived to show the alleged shipment to a representative of the Colombians, Freddy Herrera, nephew of Helmer Herrera, one of the biggest traffickers of Cali. The drug had come from the DEA’s filing cabinet. Herrera told the cartel that the merchandise was authentic.
Days later, when the Colombians finally raised the money to pay the load, Paul Lir reported that the sale would no longer be possible: the original customer had raised the appeal. The 400 kilos of cocaine were back to the DEA depots, but they had achieved the goal: they convinced the Colombians that Arguello and Bertone were reliable and dealt with a lot of drugs.
In April 1991, the first victim bit the bait. A great Colombian trafficker, José Lizardo Losada, had received assurances from Avelino, Alonso and Freddy that the Brazilian’s transportation scheme was authentic and he was willing to use it.
Paul Lir went to Colombia and told Lizardo that he had an import and export company in Guatemala called Genesis, with a landing strip in the middle of the jungle. Warranty that could receive shipments from Colombia and take them to New York. Lizardo proposed that the scheme of the Brazilian carried 767 kilos of cocaine, US $ 2,500 kilo. Avelino and Alonso, as intermediaries, would receive a polpuda commission.
When everything was ready, including setting up a façade company in Guatemala, Lizardo called Paul Lir back to Colombia.
“We’ll go ahead if you give us a member of your family as a guarantee,” said the big boss.
Paul Lir phoned his sister-in-law, Marjorie de Souza, in Miami.
“I need you to spend a couple of weeks with some friends of mine in Bogota.
Without knowing that she was a hostage and would be killed in case something went wrong, Marjorie traveled to Colombia. He stayed in a luxury hotel, guarded by bodyguards – in reality, they were killers.
On August 12, 1991, the plane with 767 kilos of cocaine landed on the runway built by Paul Lir in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle for the DEA. The cargo was worth $ 59 million (more than $ 100 million in current values). The next day, she was taken to the airport in three trucks and boarded for New York on a PanAm plane. It went straight to DEA deposits.
As he had told the Colombians that the transport would be by ship, only a month later Paul Lir confirmed the success of the operation.
“The shirts are here, my friend, and they are very good,” he said to Lizardo over the phone.
But a difficulty arose. Lizardo told Paul Lir that the drug should be delivered to three different recipients. It was a test: if all went wrong, the trafficker would know that it was the Brazilian’s fault.
“Whoever has the drug when the shipment falls is the person who is going to die,” Paul said.
The first delivery, of 100 kilos, should be made to a Colombian named Mario, who mobilized an auxiliary, Julio Mendez Yepez. Julio arrived in a blue van at the meeting place, a snack bar. Paul told him he would take the van to the warehouse, put the drug inside it and leave it parked at a certain point.
In a corner of the table, a killer bore a weapon
Police found that the van handed over to Paul Lir was overdue. Disguised as traffic patrolmen, the agents approached Julio, using the pretense as a pretext on the plates – and then found the drugs, as if by chance. They also simulated the seizure of the other 667 kilos. The stratagem allowed Paul Lir and Speziale to blame for the failure of the shipment to Mario’s cell. As part of the operation, Paul telephoned Mario, simulating fury:
“There’s something going on, because the police just knocked me out.”
With the setback, came the witch hunt. The Brazilian was called to Colombia. When he reached the conference room of a luxury hotel in Bogota, he realized that it was not a simple meeting. There were grills in all the openings, steel walls and security guards. At one end of the table was a killer of the cartel, with the weapon on display. If Paul Lir was found guilty of losing 767 pounds, he would die right there. The Brazilian was not intimidated:
– We paid our people in Guatemala a lot of money to ensure the success of this shipment. But now our business has been infiltrated by the police. We will have to change everything. We suffer a tremendous loss and must be compensated.
To reinforce his speech, he handed over to the drug dealers New York newspapers reporting the apprehension. They were counterfeit copies by the DEA, saying the police had caught the drug by accident. As the men read, the informant continued:
“Where’s Mario?” I’m here, showing my face. Mario, the culprit, is not. Because?
He also left for the attack. He said that someone would have to take responsibility for his loss, since it was not his fault. It was so convincing that they acquitted him, apologized and promised to indemnify him. His sister-in-law was released, unharmed.
Behind the bars, but without losing the pose
On April 19, 1993, Paul Lir Alexander landed in Miami with the second woman, Erica Souza. He was arrested by the DEA at the airport. He would spend the next 17 years imprisoned, first in the United States, then in Brazil.
It is not clear why he decided to travel to a country where he was wanted. When his scheme was unmasked, he ran to Bogota to explain to Pacho Herrera, the drug kingpin for the drug trafficker. Herrera said that the Brazilian should stay there, where he would be protected, and never set foot in the United States again. But Paul Lir knew that when he got the information that he had worked for the DEA, he would be a dead man in Colombia.
One possibility is that he believed he would pass the conversation on to the Americans one more time. All his life he’d always been able to wrap everybody up and he had boundless self-confidence.
“He thought nothing was impossible,” says the first woman, who lived in Miami at the time and was at her ex-husband’s house on the day of her arrest.
The US court has sentenced the Brazilian to 23 years in prison for trafficking of 1.8 tons of cocaine – the total seized in the last two transformer shipments. Then the penalty was reduced to 13 years. The investigation showed that the trafficker had amassed $ 20 million in cash, not counting amounts in a number of bank accounts, businesses and real estate, as well as yachts in Italy and Spain. Some lists point to Paul Lir as one of the 20 richest traffickers in history, with a fortune valued at $ 100 million to $ 170 million.
Pictures of his time in Florida show that, even when imprisoned, the trafficker would not give up vanity. He sculpted his body on the strength of bodybuilding, always wore designer sunglasses and fled the prison uniform.
“I’m not a bad guy,” he reasoned.
“Whoever did what you did is a thief,” said his mother.
The elderly woman visited her son three times at the prison in 1995. Paul Lir sent the air tickets for her to travel from Porto Alegre to Miami, where she would spend a three-month stay in Florida. The mother spent 18 days at her son’s home in Miami with Erica and decided to return to Brazil for health problems.
“That was the last time I saw my son. He was fine, but thin, losing his hair. Actually, I think he called me to watch over Erica. She went out every night to dance at nightclubs. But I was not going to babysit her, “says the old woman.
While paying for his crimes in the United States, Paul Lir was trying to get rid of the Brazilian booty. He had two dozen buildings in Minas and Rio, including sheds, houses, commercial rooms, sites and farms, as well as nine vehicles – automobiles and trucks. To avoid confiscation, he simulated the sale of part of the estate to his father-in-law – 12 commercial rooms in the Barra Space Center Building, in Barra da Tijuca, and two lots in a condominium in the same region. Sergeant of Rio’s retired PM, man would not even have the resources to invest. He ended up involved in Justice. Erica left her husband.
Paul Lir had been jailed for a decade when he came under the limelight again due to the publication of DEA agent Jerry Speziale’s book. In the work, the police officer revealed the collaboration with the Brazilian and told how, using what he had learned from Paul Lir, he continued to carry out operations, seize tons of cocaine and arrest traffickers. “Paul was in jail, but his voice was always with me, whispering in my ear, saying that I was not good enough, smart enough, skilled enough, to do things as well as he would. I think of Paul, my mentor in the drug business, and the work we’ve done together has done tremendous damage to Cali’s cocaine business, “Speziale wrote.
The Brazilian did not like being portrayed. He said he would kill Speziale and his family. He was also infuriated by the news that his life would turn out to be a movie – which was not finalized.
In 2005, Paul Lir was extradited to Brazil to respond to the international traffic lawsuit in Minas Gerais. He stayed until March 2006 in the Federal Police jail in Belo Horizonte.
– He was very talkative and articulate. He spent his days telling stories to other prisoners – recalls lawyer Adalberto Lustosa de Matos, his advocate.
In May, he was sentenced to 42 years in prison by the 9th Federal Criminal Court and collected from the Nelson Hungria Penitentiary in Contagem. He appealed and reduced his sentence to 27 years and nine months – until January 2037. He was taken to an individual cell of two square meters, with TV and radio, in an exclusive wing for people convicted by the Federal Court.
Cereals via Sedex
Paul Lir liked to talk only with a Bolivian and with a distress known to Jorge Tadeu, named as one of the coordinators of the traffic on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, a member of the side of Luiz Fernando da Costa, Fernandinho Beira-Mar. He kept a cell phone inside the prison, where he was always seen speaking English.
Although imprisoned, he did not lose his pose. He was well-groomed and had dark glasses. He wore sports suits, and in the two hours of sunshine he walked down the hall. Worried about food, he avoided soft drinks and ordered to buy diet juice, soy milk and other low-calorie products. Cereals were coming to him via Sedex.
– He helped me a lot. When I did not have the money, I ordered to buy food for me – recalls a former gaucho detainee who lived with Paul in Contagem, located by Zero Hora in Taquari Valley.
Paul Lir persuaded the gaucho to call his sister-in-law to visit him.
He had seen a picture of her and wanted to date her. He paid airfare to my wife and my sister-in-law, but she got scared and did not pass the jail gate, “the ex-comrade reports.
Of the 17 people who visited it, 11 were women, some up to 30 years younger. In Contagem jail, visitors could sleep with the prisoners on Saturday night to Sunday.
For being extradited from the US, Paul Lir demanded VIP treatment.
“He was very authoritarian and had a mania for greatness. He wanted a life of prince inside the jail, he charged that the cell had different painting, that the girlfriend was not searched, recalls the lawyer Adalberto Lustosa de Matos.
The criminalist recalls that Paul Lir insisted that he be transferred to a penitentiary run by the NGO Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicted Persons (APAC), in which detainees assist in administration and hold the keys to the jail.
I lost my temper with him. He was not going to get rid of stupidity, asking justice to be denied – says the lawyer, who also defended Fernandinho Beira-Mar.
Matos remembers that Paul Lir was very “whiner”. He always tried to postpone payments – but he paid the fees on time.
Cocaine hidden inside transformers
Paul Lir Alexander’s resourcefulness and poignancy excited the American counter-narcotics agency. The police officers celebrated the Brazilian’s ability to deceive the Colombians, responsible for arrests and seizures without account. Until the day they found out they were being bullshit. In 1993, with the help of the Brazilian police, the DEA realized that its precious informant was introducing colossal amounts of cocaine in the United States.
Paul Lir began deceiving the Americans in October 1991, when he sealed a partnership with José Longuinho de Arruda, a former convict for trafficking in Minas Gerais who he had met at a friend’s law firm in Cinelândia, central Rio. of the pair was to create a framework to send cocaine to the United States inside electric power transformers. They would simulate the export of the equipment, manufactured in Brazil, and consigned them with drugs.
The pair formed a gang of 21 people, recruiting relatives and acquaintances of Erica Souza (the second wife of Paul Lir) and friends of Longuinho, including a compadre of him, Francisco Rebecchi, owner of a semifalida carrier in Belo Horizonte. Paul provided false documents to the comparsas, divided into cells in Rio, Minas Gerais, Rondônia, Miami, New Jersey, and later in Mato Grosso. The command was in the hands of Paulo Ferreira and José Paulo Rothstein – two new names adopted by Paul Lir.
The scheme worked through three front companies. In Brazil, the gang opened Eletricbras Trading Importação e Exportação Ltda (later called Trafobras Comércio Exterior Ltda), with “factories” in Minas Gerais and “offices” in Rio de Janeiro. This was the company that exported transformers made in Brazil.
In Miami, Paul founded Iluminare Manufacturing Inc and, in New Jersey, Ameritraf Transformers Distributions Inc, under the control of a Brazilian and a Nicaraguan, Walter Calderon, named Commander Tonho. These companies were the purported importers of the processors.
The branch’s miner arm established sheds in Contagem (MG), where Rebecchi, the manager, and seven other people, including an electrician and two Nicaraguan engineers, assembled transformers purchased legally from Siemens in São Paulo.
In the north of the country, the command was from Longuinho, who leased a farm in Jaru, Rondônia. There were small Cessna-type planes coming down from Bolivia loaded with cocaine. After two shipments in March 1992 (of one ton and 750 kilos), this base was transferred to a farm of 1,600 hectares, in Nova Canaã do Norte (MT), bought by the gang. The crowded planes of cocaine began to descend there, on a paved runway that gave envy to neighbors, multinationals and large soy farmers. To disguise, the group opened a façade agropastoril company.
Disembarked at the farm in Mato Grosso, the drug was hidden underground. Then he went into logs. Trucks with logs traveled to the sheds in Minas Gerais. There, transformer experts recruited by the gang took one of the coils of equipment and put in place a box of lead of the same size, with 37 kilos of pure cocaine. On the outside, they put an insulating oil that prevented the identification of the drug even by sniffer dogs.
From Minas, the processors went to Rio de Janeiro, where the export paperwork was prepared by customs agents hired by Paul Lir. Then the equipment was shipped to fake customers in Miami and New Jersey. After the drug was sold in the United States, the dollars entered Brazil through a similar scheme: they came inside speakers and amplifiers imported by the company of a friend of Paul, who was never blamed and currently has a carrier in California .
In the first “sale”, Paul Lir sent, as a test, only transformers, without drugs. They entered the United States without difficulty. In December, he sent five equipment to Miami, this time with 165 kilos of cocaine. They were examined at customs and released. Investigations by the Federal Police later pointed out that the gang sent a total of 343 transformers with about 37 kilograms of pure cocaine each, totaling 10.6 tons of drug dumped on American territory for only one year, December 1991 to December 1992.
DEA agents were taken to show sertanejo
The betrayal erupted when Paul Lir and Jerry Speziale were attempting an operation that would use Brazil as a stopover for a DEA front loading. The choice of the country had been insistence of the Brazilian. Between a shipment and another transformer, Paul Lir received Speziale and other DEA agents in São Paulo. Wearing Armani suits and always surrounded by bodyguards, he took the Americans in his limo to a show by Leandro and Leonardo. He led them to the edge of the stage and said that his company was promoting the show. In fact, Paul Lir tried to enter the branch, getting to do the partnership with a company from São Paulo.
The empire of Paul Lir began to collapse on December 3, 1992, the date of the arrest of Francisco Rebecchi, the manager of the branch’s mining branch in Belo Horizonte. He was caught trying to sell 17 pounds of cocaine to an undercover cop. In the chain, in Rio, handed the scheme to the Federal Police. From then on, the gang started an operation “save yourself who and what you can”.
Paul Lir still tried to reverse the situation. He telephoned Jerry Speziale and said he had information about a shipment sent to Miami by a trafficker named Jose Paulo Rothstein. Since the drug he had sent under another name would be seized, thought Paul Lir, he could at least receive the commission as an informant.
But the DEA team in Miami investigated and discovered that Rothstein and Paul Lir were the same person. “Paul taught me everything he knew about drug dealing, and then he taught me about betrayal.” Looking at this now, I have to admit that Paul was brilliant, “Speziale said in his book.
When the scheme was discovered, the gang had stocked 1,500 kilos of cocaine on the farm in New Canaan North. The seizures made with the gang, added, were the highest recorded so far in Brazil.
The undecipherable trace of a master of lies and mistrust
In August 2010, Paul Lir Alexander, one of the largest known traffickers, escaped from prison and was never seen again. And who opened the doors for him were the Brazilian authorities.
A week earlier, he had progressed to the semi-open regime. He left the prison in Contagem and went to the Jose Maria Alkmin Penitentiary in Ribeirão das Neves, near Belo Horizonte. On the 11th, he benefited from a seven-day temporary exit – which extends to this day.
Your whereabouts are a mystery. Relatives and friends who had contact him by telephone in the days following the escape agree on one point: Paul Lir would have fled with his then girlfriend, a miner, and entered Paraguay through Ciudad del Este. Days later, the woman called a relative of the trafficker in Rio Grande do Sul and, in tears, reported that he had disappeared.
According to the Minas Gerais girlfriend, Paul Lir would have crossed the border to the Brazilian side, going by car to the entrance of a farm where he would be refugee. I would have said that I would make contact soon. If he did not communicate, it was because he was dead.
About two months after the escape, one person sent an email to a friend of Paul Lir who lived in Miami, saying that the Brazilian had arranged a meeting, but he had not shown up. Nearby people repeat this information as evidence that the fugitive was dead.
But Paul Lir’s 79-year-old mother says he’s alive:
“You think he’s dead?” There is nothing. Is alive. And very alive. More alive than me. I do not know if I can say that, but he’s out there. He says that he did a facial plastic surgery, implanted hair and took out the hand identifications. “You will not even know your son,” I was told. But of course I’ll meet, even if they turn it inside out.
He claims that the son continued to call after the flight. It would have been about four calls. The dealer made calls to collect and even sent money to cover the cost of the phone calls.
“When he ran away, I did not know. Then he called me from there … Oh, I’m afraid he knows I’m talking about that … he called Paraguay. He said that he had passed the bridge, that he was fine, that he was with his girlfriend.
According to the old woman, Paul Lir said at the first call that she was homesick and would send two people to her in Porto Alegre for her to stay with him because he was out of prison. The designated emissaries would be the girlfriend and a driver. She refused to go.
– If you’re homesick, you come here. These people could even kill me in the middle of the road.
Pau Lir laughed. Then he said:
– I can not go. I escaped from prison. I won a half-open and did not come back.
– But where are you? her mother asked.
The son had a hard time counting.
“Are not you going to tell anyone?”
– You can tell me. I will not speak, you are my son, why am I going to talk?
It was then that Paul Lir revealed to be in Paraguay, with a rental car.
– What if a blitz catches you? her mother asked.
“No danger, I’m careful.
“You’re not wearing your name, are you?” her mother wanted to know.
“That’s better if you stay quiet, do not say anything,” cut the dealer.
Mother of the criminal stayed twice without housing
In a later phone call, according to his mother’s account, Paul Lir revealed that he had cheated on his girlfriend, making her think she had died.
“It’s the first time I’ve been talking about it, but he kept talking to me on the phone. He told me that he had left his girlfriend at the hotel and told him that if he did not show up until a certain time, it was because someone had killed him. But he himself killed himself. Pretended, right? He sent it. He wanted to start another life, but he was not going to take her along. He told me that himself. I bet you want it to be alive.
In another conversation, the old woman did not give up reprimanding Paul Lir:
– You killed other people’s children. Now they’re killing yours, “she said.
“What do you mean, I killed the others’ children?” asked the trafficker.
– You killed. You sold a lot of drugs and killed the children of others. Now they’re killing yours. It’s there, like crazy.
Paul Lir was silent.
Today, the mother holds a grudge against him. According to the elderly woman, three years ago, after the last contact, he had her apartment sold for two decades in Porto Alegre. She tells me, in tears, that she was notified that the apartment had been sold and that she would have to vacate it.
“I did not have the money for the change.” I called a son who is poor, poor thing, for him to get me, that I had nowhere to go – says the woman, who now lives in a back room with a bedroom, living room and kitchen.
Paul Lir’s first wife claims he had nothing to do with the sale. Assume to have negotiated the property to pay debts tied to him. But the mother is convinced that the son is behind the eviction and that even would have been seen in Porto Alegre, by a relative, in a come to deal with the business.
According to the old woman, it was the second time she was seen in the street because of Paul Lir. When he was still living in Rio Grande do Sul, she served as a guarantor for one of his businesses. He did not pay the debt, and she had to give up the house where she lived in Canoas.
“I do not want to see you again.” He made a mess of me. I’m very afraid of him. I missed it, but after he put me out on the street, I do not have any more. Just angry. My daughter says, “Mother, we must not be angry, that he is dead.” I replied, “He died? He died three times, four times. To die, for him, is to change his name.”
One month after the escape, mega seizure in RS
The name Paul Lir Alexander came to be known by the Rio Grande do Sul Police in 2010. In September of that year, agents of the State Department of Narcotics Investigation (Denarc) seized 358 kilos of narcotics (201 cocaine and 157 between lidocaine and caffeine) in Mariana Pimentel, in the south of the state (next door). The drug was buried in plastic barrels at a rural estate.
Days later, delegate Luis Fernando Oliveira was invited to a meeting at the United States Consulate in São Paulo. They were received by police officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who worked in the state capital. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange information on drug trafficking. The origin of the drug (Bolivia), the quantity and the way of hiding it, aroused the attention of the American agents. Paul Lir had been on the run for a month and could be involved in the scheme.
– Since then, we have tried to locate him, we have discovered relatives and people from the circle of friendship in the State and even abroad – says delegate Luis Fernando.
To escape from creditors and authorities, Valdelir became Paul Lir
Before being Paul Lir, his name was Valdelir. And it was recorded twice. At first, the mother remained hidden until the notary’s office. The relationship with her husband was marked by fights and threats. He often threatened to run away with his children. So he decided to register them with his grandfather’s name, Alexander. The space reserved for the father in the certificate went blank. This was how Valdelir Alexandre, born on July 27, 1956, in Tubarão, Santa Catarina.
The second record would occur in Rio Grande do Sul years later. The family had moved to Porto Alegre in 1960. Valdelir lived in the home of his maternal grandfather, in Vila Jardim, with his mother and three brothers. The father left them in the Capital and traveled to São Paulo. It only reappeared four years later.
When he returned, he was employed as a motorbike in the trams of Carris and raised a house in the vicinity of the current Castelo Branco Avenue. The family grew: two more children were born. One day, the father decided it was time to register them in his name. The eldest son became Valdelir Oliveira da Cruz.
From Porto Alegre, the family moved to Cachoeirinha, in a village near the Gravataí River and, from 1969, to Machadinho Street, in the Rio Branco neighborhood, in Canoas. In 1972, thanks to a scholarship from the State Department of Education, Valdelir attended the fourth grade of junior high school (equivalent to the 8th grade of Elementary School) in the traditional Colégio Rosário in Porto Alegre.
At home, the routine was fights between father and mother. One evening, when he came home from school, Valdelir witnessed a violent argument. He was 16 years old.
“I’m going to end his race,” he announced.
She crossed the street, picked up a wooden stake in a nearby warehouse, and kicked her father.
The old man went out into the street, and he kept pounding. It seemed like it was not him, my son, a child doing that. Then the old man ran after him and threw him on a wire fence. The two never gave each other again, “says his mother.
Frightened by threats from his father, Valdelir left home and stopped going to school.
At age 16, Valdelir wore only social trousers, cultivated a large mane of hair, and spent hours in front of the mirror. The young man’s vanity was drawing attention in the neighborhood of Machadinho Street.
– He was a little doll. Too beautiful. She had the habit of curling her hair, smoothing it, doing some laps. Even dressed to go around the corner. People thought he was gay, “says the first woman.
She started dating Valdelir back then. They were neighbors in Canoas and worked in the center of Porto Alegre. They often took the same bus. The boy started to talk and offered to pay for the girl’s ticket, a few years older, and the mother of a six-month-old girl. In 1975, the two had a boy.
The girl dated Valdelir, but married Paul Lir. Around 1984, he went to Minas Gerais willing to adopt American airs. He entered a police station and left there as Paul Lir Alexander, the permanent name of identity card number 2391639. He left all the creditors who looked for him with the old name.
Trambiques in Porto Alegre and company of facade in Rio
In January 1985, he officialized his marriage to his girlfriend and moved into a comfortable 153-square-foot apartment at Residencial Quintanares, on Avenida Padre Cacique, in Porto Alegre, three blocks from Beira-Rio. Until then, it was the best condominium in the neighborhood Menino Deus, with privileged view to the Guaíba, gymnasium of sports and two thermal pools.
As usual, the rent was not paid. Fiadora, the mother had to sell the house to pay off the debt.
“He and his wife just wanted to know how to live well, at the expense of others,” the old woman complains.
The now Paul Lir presented himself as shoe export agent and factory owner in Novo Hamburgo. Then he went to São Paulo, where he took out a new identity card under the number 19555890, with the same Americanized name. He settled in Franca, mecca of São Paulo footwear. He created a ghost company in a house in Vila Santa Cruz, where he never lived and never made a shoe. He disappeared from the city months before police dismantled a gang that trafficked cocaine to the US in shoe packaging.
The first woman tells that, after that, they spent a year in Panama, where the Brazilian posed as an exporter of footwear. In 1985, they settled in Miami, United States.
“He went there without speaking any English and learned quickly,” the woman says.
The beginning of the career of swindlers, by the name of Valdelir Oliveira da Cruz, is documented in the archives of the State Court of Justice. Some of the cases were located by Zero Hour. The oldest is dated September 1975. At age 19, Valdelir was signed by the police because of a bad check (equivalent to R $ 2.4 thousand).
In September of 1977, Valdelir bought from the General Company of Assessors, a concessionaire of GM, a brand new Chevette blue metal zero kilometer. He paid about 40% of the car with a cold check (R $ 11.2 thousand). Two months later, the car was seized, and Valdelir was eventually ordered to pay a fine (R $ 2,700) he never took. There are also records of seizure of a financed and unpaid Passat. Because of debt to a restaurant, he even ordered his civil arrest for 20 days in March 1981. Until February 1987, Justice charged Valdelir’s arrest from the Catch Office, but he was never found. In Goiás, he applied a coup at an agency of Banco Real. Justice had the seizure of a guarantor’s truck and Uno.
In 1988, Paul Lir Alexander returned from Miami with the goal of expanding “work fronts” in Rio. The first step was to open Anglobrás Mineração Ltda, which would sell raw and manufactured diamonds to Diamondex Incorporated, based in Miami, from which Paul was also the owner.
At that time, he used to get to Rio de jatinho, pretending to be an American businessman and forced the “gringo” accent. That’s when he became enchanted with Erica Souza, a former dancer from the TV show Cassino do Chacrinha. Paul took the ex-chakra to live with him in Miami.
In Rio, Paul Lir proposed a partnership with delegates of the Civil and Federal police. By settling, he would provide information on drug shipments and take half of what was seized. The scheme collapsed in 1990, prompting the trafficker to appear on the blacklist of US authorities, which was rescued by agent Jerry Speziale.
Paul Lir Alexander
He began the criminal career in Porto Alegre, applying blows with the name of Valdelir. With a new identity, she migrated to international drug trafficking while serving as an informant for US anti-drug authorities.
Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States drug enforcement agency, used Paul Lir as an informant to dismantle cartels in Colombia. He became famous with the work and wrote a book telling the “partnership” with the Brazilian.
First wife of Paul Lir
In his youth, he dated Valdelir, when they lived in Canoas, and married Paul Lir in Porto Alegre. They lived in Panama and in the USA. Separated, she lives in Porto Alegre with relatives. She asked not to be identified.
Ex-chacrete, went to live with Paul Lir in the United States after he separated of the first woman. Mother of two children of Paul Lir, she abandoned him when he was arrested. Lives in Miami.
Mother of Paul Lir
She was a victim of the elders’ elders, who were twice homeless. With the help of another son, he lives in a small rented house in the Metropolitan Region. She asked not to be identified.
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
Thank you for providing that information! I read the book ‘without a badge’ which was a great read and have been mystified by his mysterious Chapo style jail release and Alexander’s seemingly uninterrupted continuing cocaine enterprise since then. Much appreciated.
No problem, Frank.
I don’t see anything from the article that says he lived in Israel and was part of secret services, but it does say he moved there on his Wikipedia...
Do you know of any other sources/connections between the two?
Also, it sounds like he was connected predominantly to the Cali cartel. Perhaps from there you can backtrack the Mex-Connects..
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.
My only knowledge of this guy came from reading the book ‘without a badge’ by Gerry Speziale, which is a great read. I highly recommend it. So much insight into the machinations and inner workings of the Cali cartel. I was intrigued by this guy for various reasons. I read it 12-14 yrs ago but if memory serves, the Mossad connect was mentioned in the book either by Lir himself(in which case could obviously be bullshit) or by Speziale who seems like an extraordinary individual I would tend to believe, even though he was admittedly duped by Lir for years. Seems like many people were. How he talked his way out of almost certain death at a cartel ‘trial’ for losing multiple loads is mind boggling. Speziale is now the director of the Patterson NJ police dept.
Since then I have periodically googled Lir but found very little info other than that which is contained in the book. Until your helpful post. The other exception being his ‘jailbreak’ in Brazil and his current freedom which is baffling. The mex connect was a hypothesis based on the fact that it seems like it would be difficult in this day and age to move big weight and NOT be linked somehow to Mexican crime lords.
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