By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Thirty-three people have reportedly been arrested in the neighborhood of Rocinha, Rio,s largest favela community, during a two-day police operation entitled Operação Paz Armada (Operation Armed Peace).
The goal of the operation was to execute fifty-eight outstanding arrest warrants that had been issued by the 35th Criminal Court for drug traffickers who had remained in Rocinha after the installation of that area’s Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) in 2012.
Approximately 300 officers from Gávea’s 15th Precinct and from Rocinha’s UPP entered the area early on the morning of Saturday, July 13th and continued to make arrests there until Sunday evening.
The six access roads in and out of Rocinha were reportedly blocked, as officers searched within the neighborhood and all persons entering and exiting the area.
“The operation was done with the aid of UPP officers,” chief deputy of the 15th Precinct, Ruchester Marreiros, told O Globo.
“They helped us identify alleys and streets that were not included even on Google [Maps]. We made a map by hand and took it to the Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP), which produced a complete map. Thus, today we have a geo-referencing with all the streets of the Rocinha where we can identify the points of sale of drugs and the homes of traffickers,” Marreiros said.
Of the thirty-three arrests made, twenty-two came from outstanding arrest warrants; eight individuals were arrested while committing a crime and three were identified as minors.
According to reports, officials stated that two of the individuals arrested were gang members who participated in the August 2010 Hotel Intercontinental invasion and hostage standoff.
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