Rio de Janeiro’s Most Wanted Drug Baron Arrested for 30 Years

Monday, November 14th, 2011


Rio de Janeiro’s most wanted drugs baron who controlled the drug trade in South America’s biggest favela with fear and intimidation for 30 years has been arrested after a high risk undercover police operation.

Pictures showed Lopes, 35, looking anguished in handcuffs as he was led to an armoured vehicle by heavily-armed police following his arrest at around midnight on Wednesday.

Brazilian police said the man driving the car had claimed to be a Congolese diplomat in an attempt to avoid the vehicle being searched before the occupants offered a bribe of one million Brazilian reais (£357,000) for police to let them go.

Residents of Rocinha and wealthy neighbouring districts alike were gripped by fear amid concerns that the operation could lead to open street battles between police and criminal gangs armed with machine guns, assault rifles and grenades.

Twelve families were reportedly forced from their houses in the night by gang members who wanted to use them as hideouts, while children who attend schools in the area were being excused from lessons.

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