Six Killed In Brazil Crime Crackdown

By Dialogo
June 02, 2011

At least six people were killed in a police crackdown on crime in a northern Rio de Janeiro shanty town, officials said, adding that weapons and drugs were confiscated.

The crackdown is part of a broad program to crush drug traffickers and violent gangs in the Rio shanty towns before Brazil hosts the football 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

About one-third of Rio de Janeiro’s population of six million live in slums, known as favelas.

Police Colonel Aristeu Leonardo, in charge of the special police unit that swept into the Complexo Morro da Pedreira favela, told reporters that one of those killed was an important area drug lord.

“There is a long history in the Complexo da Pedreira of robbery and assassination, including of police officers,” Leonardo said.

Police said they confiscated a rifle, five pistols and 450 crack cocaine rocks.

Heavily armed officers set up bases in 13 neighborhood areas and will remain there “for an undetermined amount of time,” Leonardo said.

Police were also searching for the person who gunned down a police officer.

On Sunday, at least six people were killed and three wounded in a battle between rival drug gangs for the control of the Para-Pedro favela, also in the northern outskirts of Rio.

The fighting began when a drug gang entered early morning into turf belonging to a rival group. Police later joined the fight, CBN radio reported.

Brazilian police believe the criminals were seeking to spread into the area ahead of a government “pacification” program that includes 24-hour police presence.

So far, police “pacification” operations have been successfully organized in more than 20 city favelas. The increased police presence is complemented by a government program that hires local residents.

In late 2010 some 2,600 paratroopers, marines and elite police, backed up with helicopters and armored personnel carriers, led a pre-dawn assault on gangs in the Vila Cruzeiro and Complexo do Alemao favelas that ended with 37 suspected criminals killed, a score of arrests, and the seizure of more than 500 weapons.