Brazillian drug lord arrested after wife reveals location on Instagram – again

Andrezza de Lima Joel often showed off her holidays with her husband Ronald Roland on Instagram (Picture: TV Globo)

A Brazilian drug lord has been arrested after a two-year manhunt thanks in no small part to his Instagram-loving wife – for the second time.

Ronald Roland, 50, was captured last Tuesday at his condominium in the coastal town of Guarujá on suspicion of running a sprawling money laundering scheme and supplying drug cartels in Mexico.

The authorities say Rolan has drug smuggling contacts with Mexican cartels.

The fugitive, his second wife Andrezza de Lima Joel and their daughters were sleeping when police burst through the door.

Police managed to track Ronald down after de Lima kept posting photographs of the couple on Instagram, according to the Brazillian station TV Globo’s current affairs show Fantástico.

She had been showing off her husband’s luxury trips to Paris, Dubai, the Maldives and Colombia, unintentionally aiding police keep tabs on his whereabouts.

Roland was arrested in 2019 after his first wife tagged his location on social media (Picture: Policia Federal)

This isn’t the first time Roland has been arrested due to his wife’s social media activity.

Roland was arrested in July 2019 when he was on Interpol’s list; his ex-wife had tagged where the couple was on social media, in the East Zone of São Paulo.

He was released the following year.

Federal police said last Tuesday that 280 officers arrested eight people – Roland included – as part of a raid across seven states. Thirty-four luxury cars, two private jets, high-end watches, weapons and wads of cash were seized.

The operation tore open a ‘complex’ and ‘violent’ drug trafficking ring that had spent years ‘hiding and disguising assets derived from the practice of numerous crimes’.

Nine preventative arrest warrants and 80 search and seizure warrants were carried out in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina, Bahia and Goiás. 

Roland accumulated a fortune of 5,000,000,000 Reals, about £860,200,000 across five years, federal police said.

Federal police arrested the kingpin as part of a massive sting (Picture: Policia Federal)

The money was shuffled through a maze of more than 100 shell companies and businesses – including Ronald’s wife’s bikini shop in Guarujá.

In just a single day, de Lima received £28,000 in deposits made at an ATM in Foz do Iguaçu, a city in Paraná.

She used the money to buy a £430,000 plane, the authorities said.

‘There are ads for bikinis but whether the bikinis were enough to buy multi-million dollar aircraft or luxury vehicles is another question,’ Ricardo Ruiz, a federal police officer working in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, told Fantástico.

Ruiz alleged Roland was buying homes in the names of businesses whose partners weren’t exactly rich enough to buy property, vehicles and aircraft.

‘We found partners of companies, for example, who work in a restaurant, but who are partners in several companies that moved tens of millions of reals,’ Ruiz said.

Police have seized 34 high-end cars (Picture: Policia Federal)

Roland has been accused of accumulating billions of rules (Picture: Policia Federal)

These phoney companies ranged from civil construction and aviation to cryptocurrency and commerce, while 200 people kept the scheme afloat.

Intelligence officials say those involved in the scheme stashed money in rubbish bin bags before depositing it into ATMs.

The money launderers at one point deposited about £8,500 in 20 envelopes at a bank machine in the East Zone.

Roland had long been as discrete as possible. But when he moved in 2019 to a high-end apartment in Uberlândia, it was hard to go unnoticed.

‘A person arrived home with a R$500,000 vehicle. A week later, with a R$1,000,000 vehicle. Another week, with a R$800,000 vehicle,’ Ruiz said.

‘This caught the attention of the neighbourhood. Who is this person who moved here?’

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Federal police began tailing Roland in 2012 while he worked as an airline pilot. They were investigating his ties to ‘violent’ drug traffickers who were handling drugs from Central and South America to Mexico.

In the 2000s, São Paulo police investigated him for, among other things, tax evasion, corruption and criminal association.

Lawyers for Roland and de Lima were unable to comment when approached by Fantástico.

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