July 3, 2014 / 10:37 PM / 5 years ago

World Cup police cooperation nabs Argentine 'dirty war' torturer

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Enhanced international police cooperation during the World Cup has led to the arrest of a fugitive wanted for torture and murder during Argentina’s “dirty war” against leftists four decades ago, Brazilian authorities said on Thursday.

Salvador Siciliano was a leading member of the notorious Triple A anti-communist death squad and is wanted in Argentina for the abduction, torture and murder of three people between 1973 and 1975, Brazilian and Argentine police officers said.

Siciliano, in his mid-seventies, was arrested on Thursday morning in a house in Arujá, a town outside Sao Paulo. Procedures were pending for his extradition to Argentina.

“He entered Brazil illegally and was hiding here,” said Luiz Eduardo Navajas, a Brazilian Federal Police officer. “He was captured thanks to heightened cooperation during the World Cup.”

Navajas did not provide details on what kind of cooperation led to the arrest. But he spoke at the International Police Coordination Center, where police forces from the 32 nations in the tournament are exchanging more information than usual to track security threats and criminals that might be in Brazil.

Brazilian police have so far arrested five foreigners wanted on criminal charges, including drug traffickers from Mexico and Argentina, and a Chilean thief.

Earlier on Thursday, police raided an apartment in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, and arrested Dennis Alfredo Grell, a German who fled to Brazil two years ago to escape arrest on tax fraud charges in his country.

Information exchange between police forces has led to the arrest and deportation of 40 Argentine soccer fans with records of troublemaking as members of Argentina’s violence-prone “barras bravas” fan clubs, Navajas said.

And it is not over yet.

Police are searching for Pablo Alvarez, leader of the fan club of Argentina’s Independiente soccer club. Alvarez dodged border controls to enter Brazil and has posted photos of himself on Facebook at two Argentina games - disguised as a Swiss fan, police said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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