By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The mega-operation by Rio de Janeiro police to capture Nicolas Labre Pereira has already left nine people dead since June 20th, when in a daring action twenty-five armed men stormed a hospital in the center of Rio de Janeiro to rescue the drug dealer who was under police custody.
Since last week, officials have looked for Pereira, better known as Fat Family, in at least fifty favela communities. The fugitive, who was one of the drug trafficking leaders at Morro Santo Amaro in the Catete neighborhood, is being sought not only in communities around Zona Sul, but also outside the city, like Duque de Caxias, Belford Roxo and Queimados, places where his drug ring also operates.
According to officials, on Friday, June 24th, police received a tip the criminal was hiding in the Mare favela complex, but Pereira was able to escape before agents arrived to arrest him.
According to daily O Globo, however, since the mega-operation began military police have confiscated almost 2.5 tons of drugs and 34 weapons, arrested 126 people linked to drug trafficking, and located 348 stolen vehicles.
Rio officials however reiterate that those visitors and tourists coming to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in August and September, will have nothing to worry about. Officials say extra security will be at hand for both visitors and athletes. According to General Sergio Etchegoyen, responsible for the federal security agents at the Games, the city will have an integrated security system, which will encompasses three areas: security, defense and intelligence.