By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Accused chief drug lord of Rocinha, Antônio Bonfim Lopes, known as Nem, was arrested by Federal Police at around midnight last night in Lagoa, in front of the Piraquê Club. One military police officer called the arrest of one of Rio’s most wanted criminals a “victory”.

Accused Rocinha drug lord, Nem, arrested, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Accused Rocinha drug lord, Nem, arrested, image recreation.

The fugitive was found in the trunk of a car as he reportedly attempted to escape from Rocinha ahead of its anticipated pacification.

It was reported in local media that he was assisted by two other men – a lawyer and an employee from the consulate of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who initially tried to use his diplomatic immunity to prevent police officers from opening the trunk and making the discovery.

The lawyer reportedly offered police officers R$1 million to let the group walk free. However, all three men were arrested. According to Federal Police, Nem will be transferred Bangu prison later on today.

Rocinha is considered the largest favela in Brazil, and located between the wealthy Zona Sul (South Zone) neighborhoods of São Conrado, Gávea, and Leblon.

Home to at least 70-100,000 people (the exact population is unknown, due to the difficulty of conducting a census), Rocinha is considered crucial to the drug trade in Rio.

Read more in Portuguese.

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