Brazil gang leader puts on silicone mask and wig in attempt to flee jail disguised as his daughter

David Millward
The gang leader had apparently planned to leave his 19-year-old daughter in the prison - AP

Brazilian authorities have thwarted an attempt by one of the country's most notorious drug lords to escape from prison disguised as his 19-year-old daughter.

Clauvino da Silva donned a silicone mask and long brunette wig for his elaborate bid to slip out of Rio de Janeiro's Bangu 3, where he was serving a 73-year sentence for drug trafficking as a leader of the Comando Vermelho (Red Command) gang.

Similar in size to his daughter, the 42-year-old gangster, known as Baixinho – which translates as Shorty - believed he could fool the prison guards by switching places with the teenager, leaving her in jail while he made his escape.

Several people were involved in the plot, including a pregnant woman who was able to bring in the mask and clothing needed for the escape without being searched.

Da Silva donned the mask, bra, tight-fitting pink t-shirt, jeans, black wig and glasses and attempted to make his escape along with other visitors.

The disguise may have - at first glance - been convincing, but his nervous demeanour made prison guards suspicious. His requesting his daughter's ID card on his departure did little to help the subterfuge.

They first removed the "visitor's" glasses, then the long black wig, followed by the jacket and t-shirt. The "woman" turned out to be a slightly-built but muscular man who was revealed as da Silva when he pulled off the silicone mask.

The gang leader had apparently planned to leave his 19-year-old daughter in the prison Credit: Rio de Janeiro Penitentiary Administration Secretariat /AP

The "striptease" was filmed by guards who also made da Silva pose for pictures before being returned to his cell.

As if the humiliation of being made to strip in front of a video camera was not enough, da Silva faced the ridicule from Brazilian newspaper headline writers.

One compared the botched escape to "White Chicks" , a Hollywood comedy in which two black FBI agents disguise themselves as upper-crust white women.

His daughter, Ana Gabriele Leandro da Silva, and eight other people are being questioned by Brazilian authorities for their part in the attempted escape.

Ms Da Silva's efforts on behalf her father could lead her to join him in Brazil's overcrowded prison system as she faces a potential two-year jail term.

Da Silva himself was transferred to another unit of the prison, and will also face further disciplinary action.

This was the second time in six years that he has sought to escape custody.

In 2013 he was one of 31 inmates who fled the Vicente Piragibe Penal Institute in Gericino via the jail's sewer system. He was caught shortly afterwards.

Following da Silva's latest antics, Brazilian officials said that he will be transferred to a maximum-security prison to prevent further escape attempts.

Gang warfare is rife in Brazil's violent jails. Last week 58 inmates were murdered – of whom 16 were beheaded – in a riot at Altamira prison.

While da Silva's attempt to switch places with a visitor was unsuccessful, the ruse has worked in the past.

Last year a Peruvian fugitive drugged his twin brother who had come to visit him and left him in jail to serve his sentence. It took a year for the authorities to catch the correct inmate and return him to custody.