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Jarvis Chimenes Pavao, a Brazilian drug lord who was sentenced in Paraguay to eight years in prison for money laundering, wasn’t exactly roughing it inside Tacumbú prison in Asunción.
His suite inside the prison had various rooms, a private bathroom, a conference room, kitchen, a computer, treadmill, plush sofas, plasma-screen television — along with DVDs to watch on it including a mini-series based on the life of Pablo Escobar, Chimenes Pavao’s hero.
So as the time of his release approached, the convicted drug lord needed a plan: he didn't want to be extradited to his native Brazil, where he is wanted in connection with a number of crimes.
Apparently with that in mind he had explosives smuggled into the prison, in hopes of blasting his way out, but instead this alerted the authorities and eventually led to the discovery of the inmate's luxury accommodations, AFP reported.
Chimenes Pavao's lawyer, Laura Casuso, told reporters that her client bribed a slew of officials in order to live the way he did inside the notorious prison. "[He paid] six or seven ministers of justice and six or seven prison directors," she claimed.
When the prison raid took place last week, the country’s president Horacio Cartes, immediately fired Justice Minister Carla Bacigalupo. Vice Minister Ever Martinez vowed a crackdown.
"We're going to demolish Chimenes Pavao's cell and take measures against the prison directors who allowed this inmate to enjoy these privileges," he said. However, the drug lord's lawyer told the Asunción newspaper ABC Color that Martinez knew about the cell’s remodeling from the beginning.
In fact, she added, there are videos and photographs taken on Nov. 18, 2013, when work started on creating Chimenes Pavao’s suite, with the Justice Minister at the time, Shela Abed, and Martinez and the prison’s top officials attending the event.
Inmates at Tacumbú told AFP that they were sorry to see Chimenes Pavao go.
"I don't know what's going to become of us without him," one, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the news agency, noting that the Brazilian drug lord paid for a chapel and a soccer field for the prison.
"He was the most loved man in this prison," another inmate, Antonio Gonzalez, told AFP.
Casuso said he also paid for the construction of toilets for prison guards, the renovation of Tacumbú’s library and the salaries of the prison’s cooks.
Be that as it may, Chimenes Pavao wasn’t above making a little – or a lot of – scratch off his accommodations.
According to AFP, Osvaldo Arias, a former prisoner at Tacumbú, said other inmates could stay in Chimenes Pavao’s suite – where they could receive outside visitors – for a $5,000 deposit plus rent of $600 a week.
"He never said he was a saint," Casuso said.