In Brazil's largest police operation ever against crime more than 2,000 criminals have been arrested this Friday, March 23. Authorities didn't have final numbers at the end of the day and police action seemed to continue in several towns of the 25 states in which the operation was unleashed.
30,000 police agents were used in the cleaning out campaign. In São Paulo alone, 1,675 people, 583 of them in flagrante delicto, were detained, during the 11-hour raid. Never before had São Paulo arrested so many people in just one day. Three of them were killed, according to the police, for resisting arrest. 257 of those arrested were wanted by authorities.
In São Paulo, each police district planned its own action. The undertaking wasn't focused on any particular gang but aimed at dozens of criminal groups that are being investigated by the police of that state.
In Rio the megaoperation gave birth to a mouse. While about 2,000 policemen went to the streets to chase crooks they only arrested 42 people, eight of them minors. involved with drugs. The Rio police also recovered eight stolen motorcycles. They seized pirated goods, weapons and drugs too.
Bahia state, in the Northeast, arrested 72 criminals, 48 of them in the act. Bahia authorities also seized 24 weapons, 11 illegal vehicles as well as 18 lbs of marijuana, half a pound of crack and a quarter pound of cocaine. There were over 1,000 police agents taking part in the operation, which also counted on 130 police chiefs. In the state the action lasted four days: from March 19 to 22.
In the southeastern state of Espírito Santo the police ended up placing 35 of those detained in a bus parked at the Homicide and Personal Protection Bureau in capital city Vitória because there was no room in close-by jails. Authorities there had 555 warrants of arrest but were only able to capture 74 people.
In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, 63 people were arrested and 21 weapons were seized together with 4.500 pirated CDs and DVDs. 20 stolen cars were also recovered there.
In Paraná state, also in the South, there were 29 arrests. One of those detained, a 29-year-old man, is accused of having kept his wife in captivity for nine months. She was found in the Greater Curitiba, capital of Paraná, weighing 77 lbs and with wounds all over her body.
In Brazilian capital Brasília the police nabbed over 40 fugitives who were convicted for murder.Â There were another 130 arrests in the western state of Mato Grosso.
This was the first time that the Brazilian state police forces coordinated such a huge operation. "The idea," said Mário Jordão, São Paulo's civilian police chief, "was to articulate together the several police forces, giving them motivation and approaching them to the population."
Jordão, president of the National Council of General Police Chiefs, was one of originators or the megaoperation idea. The suggestion was first presented less than two months ago during a meeting among police chiefs.
Minas Gerais, the only state that didn't take part in the national operation, justified its decision saying that it prefers toÂ conduct its own individual actions against criminality.