By Laura Madden, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Federal Police arrested eleven people last Thursday, February 16th including an ex-commander of the Police Pacification Unit (UPP), accused of involvement in drug trafficking in Morro de São Carlos, a favela in Estácio, Zona Norte (North Zone). According to the Federal Police (PF), ex-commander captain Adjaldo Luiz Piedade, is accused of receiving approximately R$15,000 each week for a period of about six months.
The money is reported to have come from the drug lord known in the community as Peixe (Fish), with whom Piedade negotiated directly.
The arrests are part of an investigation known as Operation Boca Aberta (Open Mouth), which began last year. According to PF, the captain moved police activity around within the slum to facilitate the sale of drugs.
The payments were made to the captain from May until October 2011, when the captain was transferred after accusations of corruption. The relations between Piedade and the drug lord was so strong that their contact continued after the captain´s transfer.
“In one conversation, Peixe suggested that the captain gets transferred to the Police Battalion in Macaé, because he knew many people in that city,” said Fabio Andrade, a delegate from the Bureau of Narcotics Repression (DRE). Peixe was arrested while fleeing the favela community of Rocinha in November last year.
An ex-soldier, Alexandre Duarte de Oliveira, was also arrested in the operation in Morro de São Carlos. In police wiretaps, he was overheard introducing himself as the captain’s representative, coordinating payments and even asking for small quantities of marijuana. De Oliveira served with the commander in Morro de São Carlos and was currently stationed in the UPP’s Morro do Fallet.
In addition to the arrests, more than 700 pounds of marijuana were seized along with 107 bottles of “lança-perfume” (ether spray), drug packaging material, rifle ammunition, radios and a precision scale.
The investigations began about ten months ago after the DRE received numerous complaints about the existence of continuing drug sales in Morro de São Carlos.
In September of last year, an investigation revealed details about fees paid to thirty UPP officers in Morro da Coroa, Fallet and Fogueteiro in Santa Teresa to facilitate drug trafficking in the region. The racket worked like a monthly allowance estimated at about R$53,000 per month.
The traffickers made fixed payments to officers ranging between R$400 and R$2,000. The Military Police’s (PM) Internal Affairs Intelligence, which investigates the police unit in Santa Teresa, discovered that officers who refused to participate suffered retaliation from criminals.
Earlier this month, three local UPP officers were arrested when they were found on their day off with R$13,000 in envelopes with names of police officers written on them. The amounts ranged between R$100 and R$500. The PM’s Internal Affairs Intelligence found the money hidden inside a military police vehicle on an access road leading to Morro da Coroa.
Yesterday, in Morro de São Carlos, a 14 year-old died and four others were injured after a shootout between police and traffickers in the community, which is close to the Marquis de Sapucaí, Rio’s Carnival Sambódromo.