Brazil gang leader who dressed as daughter in failed prison escape found dead

Clauvino da Silva was caught trying to escape over the weekend and told to take off the mask. Credit: AP

A Brazilian gang leader who tried to escape prison dressed as his daughter has been found dead in his jail cell.

Rio de Janeiro prison authorities said on Tuesday that Clauvino da Silva had hanged himself.

The 42-year-old was caught at the weekend trying to break out of jail -wearing a female silicon mask, a long dark-haired wig and women's clothes - disguised as his daughter.

He was part of the leadership of the Red Command, one of the most powerful criminal groups in Brazil that controlled drug trafficking in a large part of Rio.

Officials say he managed to reach the prison's exit doors, but his nervousness caught the attention of security guards.

After the failed escape bid, da Silva was transferred to a unit of a maximum-security prison and officials said he was to face disciplinary sanction.

An investigation into his death has been launched.