By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the early hours of Monday (August 21st) members of Brazil’s armed forces, police and national force simultaneously entered seven of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas complexes, with arrest orders for drug traffickers and arms dealers. Among the communities searched by security forces are Jacarezinho, Alemão and Manguinhos.
As in previous operations by the Armed Forces in Rio, soldiers will remain outside the communities, giving support to military and civil police officers who are entering the favelas.
Rio’s military police has been distributing, through its social media, photographs of those persons sought and asking residents for their help. “Help @PMERJ in # OperationIntegrated with #Federal Forces. Report criminals and concealed weapons! Your confidentiality is guaranteed,” read the official police Twitter account.
As the operation unfolded an Army soldier was arrested, suspected of leaking information to criminals in the communities where the operation is being carried out, according to officials at the East Military Command. Officials said that the individual was already being monitored, suspected of having ties to the drug cartels.
At the end of July the federal government authorized the sending of 10,000 federal security forces to Rio to help the state with its security crisis. Since then federal troops have been engaging in strategic and timely actions in specific favela communities, instead of ostensive patrolling of the streets.
According to Brazilian news website G1 by 8:30 AM sixteen people had been arrested along with many weapons and drugs.Streets surrounding the communities have been blocked off and there is some restriction in airspace for civil aircrafts in the regions.