By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Some ninety pieces of artillery suspected of being able to fire on aircraft were seized yesterday during an operation by police in Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil which sits in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone). Twelve people were arrested in the operation which involved 65 officers from a number of police divisions.
The police force included members from intelligence, counter-narcotics, theft and also the police helicopter squadron, officials said. No armed confrontations or drugs seizures were reported; the operation has since ended.
Police arrived in the morning and started operations at an underground cable TV and internet hub and an abortion clinic.
They say some 31 stolen motorcycles were recovered, along with 21,000 pirate CDs and DVDs, hundreds of toys, shoes and counterfeit clothing.
Rocinha is expected to be one of the next favelas in Rio to have a UPP (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora – Police Pacification Unit) installed and, according to police, the area is a significant transit point for drugs entering the city.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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Correction: November 5, 2011
The article was first published indicating the artillery as anti-aircraft rockets, and although major Brazilian media used this terminology, it is unsubstantiated and unlikely according to U.S. military sources.