Brazil: drug crackdown widens

Brazilian police arrested 51 members of two supposed narcotics gangs Feb. 11 in simultaneous raids in eight states involving 300 federal officers and another 200 from the Rio de Janeiro police force. Most of those arrested were members of the middle class who communicated among themselves by Internet to elude wiretaps. Police seized ecstasy, LSD, cocaine, hashish and an inhalant drug made from chloroform and ether. Police said weapons were seized, including assault rifles. (LAHT, Feb. 11)

At least 10 people were killed Feb. 4 when police raided Rio favelas, or shanty towns, in anti-drug operations Feb. 5. About 300 police and special forces using armored vehicles and helicopters descended upon four favelas. Police said all those killed were suspected drug dealers. But the victims included two teenage boys, the city’s civil defense ministry confirmed. The operation comes as officials launched a new strategy that calls for a permanent police presence in the shanty towns, rather than withdrawing after shoot-outs. (BBC News, Feb. 4)

See our last posts on Brazil and the favela wars.

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