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Brazil’s Anti-Drug Operation Kills 19, But Doesn’t Nab Drug Lord

Military police invades Brazilian favela After a police operation, which lasted more than six hours, left at least 19 dead and 9 wounded and spread terror in the favelas of Alemão and Vila Cruzeiro, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, everything seemed quiet when the night fell. Residents of both shanty towns, however, were talking about their fear that the drug traffickers against whom the raids were launched might retaliate.

Public hospitals in the area had also a busy day. At the Bonsucesso General Hospital nine of the people taken there – all men with apparent ages between 13 and 40 – were dead on arrival. Employees at the Getúlio Vargas hospital informed that they also received 4 bodies, none of which could be identified.

At the end of the night six new bodies were brought to the Getúlio Vargas raising the death toll to 19. It wasn't clear, however, if these dead were also victims of the police attack earlier in the day.

The huge police incursion, which counted on about 1350 civilian and military policemen, wasn't able, however, to nab José Antonio de Souza Ferreira, better known as Tota, the area's drug lord. During the shootout, about 4,600 students of eight schools in the neighborhood were sent home for security reasons.

For José Mariano Beltrame, Rio state's public security secretary, the big number of stray bullets that ended up hitting and hurting favela residents were just the confrontation's "bitter medicine" and according to him the police only reacted to the criminals who shot first.

The secretary had announced in the afternoon that the number of dead might be over 18. This figure was later revised to 13.

Beltrame also guaranteed that only outlaws were killed. He called the operation a success for destroying the drug traffickers hideout and depriving them from their own litlte sanctuary in the hills despite the fact that authorities couldn't find the area's boss.

The secretary threatened to stage another operation twice as big as the one from Wednesday. And informed that the police had been occupying the raided area since May 2. He also told reporters that for the first time the police had been able to reach areas that are used as hiding places by criminals like Areal, Chuveirinho and Matinha.

He called the criminals a "parallel state" and conceded that even after 50 days the drug traffickers still have a very strong fire power.

"Is it a hard situation?" the secretary asked. "It is. Is it a bad situation? It is. If today, in an operation we can count 15 or 20 deaths, I'm sure that the same action next year or in 2010 would produce 50, 60 or 100 deaths."

The police operation also seized five submachine guns, 60 grenades with detonators, several pistols, 40 kg (88 lbs) of cocaine, 30 kg (66 lbs) of marijuana and a precision scale. Four men, including a teenager, were taken into custody.

The Alemão complex has been occupied by the police since they invaded the favela looking for the murderers of police officers Marco Antônio Ribeiro Vieira and Marcos André Lopes da Silva, who were killed on May 1st with more than 30 shots. Twenty five people had already been killed before authorities launched yesterday's operation.

The Pan-American games are scheduled to start July 13 in Rio. To reinforce the security during the sports event 2,000 men from Brazil's National Security Force (FNS) are being dispatched to the city in the next few days. They will be joining another 2,000 FNS troops who are already in town. Before the games start this number should raise to 6,000.

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  • Show Comments (7)

  • Nick

    I think there is a brigher more peacful Rio in 10 to 15 years time
    Very interesting developments are occuring in the Slums of Rio. Most I
    have talked to have no hope that there will be any real change. I though do
    see a brighter more peaceful exsitence for these people in the next 10
    to 15 years. My friend told me that the police have vowed to purge
    the favelas of their “Cripps” and “Bloods”. They do seem to be making
    progress, but the kicker is going to be that as long as there is demand
    for Coke and Smoke there will be dealers. So they would have to stop
    international drug trade into Brazil which is another huge political
    hurdle due to the number of payoffs that lead to authorities becoming corrupt
    and turning a blind eye to the trade.

  • João da Silva

    To:Forrest
    [quote]yes but with $500.00 they could buy there way in to the US not come eleagle [/quote]

    My apologies,Admiral. I misread the decimals. If you recall, here comma is replaced by the period!. So, my friend, you are proposing a mere 500 dollars or 1000 Reais? Splendid, we are better negotiators than Sam. Why buy their loyalty for an exhorbitant price,while you can bring down the price.

    So, my friend, lets fix the price: $500,00 (five hundred dollars). 😉

  • forest Brown

    hay JOAO
    yes but with $500.00 they could buy there way in to the US not come eleagle

    well i know they work so the real honest people will do it for $100.000 to make there lives better and get out of the target range they live in

    but the small bad guys will sell him out for $500.000

    remember sadam boys were turned by a uncle , and that was blood and money

    IF THEY WERE REAL SICK OF THE DRUGS THEY WOULD DO IT FOR FREE .
    BUT THE COPS ARE AS BAD AS THE DRUG DEALERS OR WORK FOR THEM

  • João da Silva

    To:Forrest
    [quote]all brasilians love money more than foot ball and beer
    [/quote]

    Admiral,you cant generalize. There are plenty who love to make money by honest means to pay for the beer and the tickets for the Soccer games!

    [quote]stick a $ 500.000 for him and others like him and the big fish would swim out of the crowd and into a safe jail
    [/quote]

    There again you are too generous to the informants. I would rather stick to R$100,000 as Sam suggested plus relocation costs to some other area of the country!

  • forest Brown

    how many guns were found
    i am with sam

    all brasilians love money more than foot ball and beer

    stick a $ 500.000 for him and others like him and the big fish would swim out of the crowd and into a safe jail

    if you think and look back the cloumbians with help from the US , Franc < England
    have killed the top 13 drug lords in there country

    and better avrage than any other country in the world

  • sam

    Speaking of parallel states, it is similar to Columbia and Cartagena, Pablo Escobar. Congrats to the operation, puting together 1350 police is no small talsk. Put a R$100,000 bounty on Tota, and the rest of them.

  • CH.C.

    Brazilians governments and politicians……insist……
    ….that Brazil is a safe country, as safe as any country in the world !!!!!

    DEAD WRONG, SIMPLE CHEATING, HIDING AND LYING AS BRAZILIANS ARE CHEAP EXPERTS OF……DESINFORMATION !!!!

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