Brazilian police arrested Diego Dzodan, Facebook's vice-president for Latin America, for not complying with previous judicial decisions. In a press release, the federal police stated that Dzodan had been arrested in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
This followed an arrest warrant issued by a judge from the state of Sergipe, after Facebook allegedly did not release messages, sent by WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook, which concerned a drug trafficking investigation.
"The arrest was made for the federal police of Sergipe, considering the repeated ignoring of judicial orders...concerning organised crime and drug trafficking," Xinhua quoted the press release as saying.
Facebook has maintained that WhatsApp is operated independently and that it has no staff in Brazil and does not store messages, making it impossible to comply with the court order.
In December, another Brazilian judge ordered the WhatsApp service to be blocked nationwide for 48 hours after the company refused to provide information as part of an investigation into a user of the app.
At the time, the judicial decision provoked a wave of criticisms in Brazil and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, stated that he was "stupefied" and called it "a sad day for Brazil".