Ten Fugitives from Rio Favela Captured in Paraguay
By Dialogo May 23, 2013
Ten alleged drug traffickers from the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro, who escaped to Paraguay after the police occupied this shanty town in 2010, were captured by Paraguayan authorities, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported on May 21.
At least five of the criminals are members of transnational gang Comando Vermelho (Red Command), the largest criminal organization in Brazil, which is mainly involved in international drug and weapons trafficking.
The criminals were detained in the border town of Amambay, a marihuana-producing region, which is generally disputed between Paraguayan and Brazilian gangs that fight for control over the drug and weapons market.
A sophisticated arsenal of war rifles, automatic pistols, shotguns, and ammunition was confiscated by the police, according to the newspaper.
“We only have the names of the detainees and confiscated equipment,” Jorge Santos Figueiredo, Chief of the Federal Police of Mato Grosso do Sul, stated.
The operation started six months ago with thorough intelligence work, which involved members of the Paraguayan Army and the counter drug department, who worked in conjunction with the Brazilian Federal Police, according to O Globo.
More than 2,600 Police and Army members seized Complexo do Alemão on November 28, 2010, with the support of armored vehicles and helicopters, and restored this drug trafficking stronghold back to the hands of the state.
The operation was conducted after several days of armed confrontations that left 37 individuals killed.
Since 2000, Rio de Janeiro has raced against time to ‘pacify’ the city’s poor neighborhoods that are controlled by drug traffickers and paramilitaries, before the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
Additionally, the soccer Confederations Cup will be held in June and one month after that Pope Francis will visit the country.
Pacifying Police Units (UPP) are being setup in the occupied favelas, with officers trained to address problems within retaken communities.
About 8,000 community police officers have been assigned to UPP in 179 poor neighborhoods, according to the police, which intends to setup other 40 stations by 2014.