By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Special divisions of Rio de Janeiro’s Polícia Militar (Military Police, PM) have seized arms and drugs, as well as making over fifty arrests, in the second day of a major operation aimed at drug trafficking and the vehicle theft in a number of districts throughout the Rio metropolitan area.
Raids began again early on Thursday morning, with a number of battalions from across Rio involved, including the PM’s Batalhão de Choque (Shock Batallion, “BPChoque”).
Thursday – the second day of the operation – ended with a total of 56 arrests, and one suspect died during the operation – as police engaged in exchanges of gunfire with gang members in some of the favela areas targeted in the operation. Tens minors were also detained.
According to police reports, two rifles, seven handguns and a pistol, plus ammunition, were confiscated on Thursday, along with over 3,000 “crack rocks”, 15kg of marijuana, and 27kg of cocaine.
Police also seized 174 motorcycles and 46 cars in the operation, as well as gambling paraphernalia, communications equipment and pirate DVDs.
Fifty-one people were arrested on Wednesday during the first day of the operation. The operations in the many favela regions of Rio are often seen as precursors to the subsequent bigger battle of eliminating criminal gangs and reinstating law and order.
In an increasing number of cases, this is followed by the installation of UPPs (Police Pacification Unit) – such as those recently set up in the favela communities of Adeus and Baiana, which neighbor Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Norte (North Zone) – itself the recipient of a UPP.
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