Brazil gang leader found dead in cell after masked jailbreak attempt

Brazil gang leader found dead in cell after masked jailbreak attempt

A Brazilian gang leader by the name of Clauvino da Silva has been found dead in his prison cell, a week after attempting to escape disguised as his teenage daughter.

The 42-year-old convicted drug trafficker, who hailed from Rio de Janeiro, is suspected to have committed suicide after his bizarre escape attempt was foiled by perceptive wardens at the Bangu prison complex. Silva, also known by the nickname "shorty", had been serving a life sentence of 73 years and 10 months for his various crimes.

He allegedly died by hanging himself, according to prison authorities.

The drug lord had gone viral on social media, after footage emerged online of guards removing a silicon mask and wig he'd fashioned himself, in a desperate attempt to hide his face. He'd allegedly been planning on slipping the mask on when his 19-year-old daughter came to visit him in jail, and intended on swapping places with her, and leaving her behind while he made his escape.

He'd also crossdressed to complete the disguise, donning a pair of glasses, a padded bra, a t-shirt, and hoodie. Prison guards saw through the disguise quickly, and he was placed in solitary confinement as punishment. Police are currently investigating Silva's daughter, as well as another eight people, over the attempted jailbreak.

The kingpin was allegedly the mastermind behind Red Command, one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in Brazil.

This was not his first escape attempt either; in 2013, he and 31 prisoners attempted a Shawshank-Redemption-inspired breakout of the Vicente Piragibe Penal Institute in Gericino, via through the jail's sewer system. But he and his cohorts were ultimately apprehended and transferred.

Prisons are a hot-button topic in Brazil, thanks to President Jair Bolsonaro's pledge to be tougher on crime. Last week, at least 57 people died during a prison riot in the northern state of Pará.