A military policeman stands next to a graffiti reading 'On the stones (crack) way, there is still hope', at 'crackland' near Parque Uniao slum during a police-sanitary operation in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 29, 2012, Brazil. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
Sixty police officers were arrested by authorities in Rio de Janeiro after they were accused of taking bribes from drug dealers to overlook their criminal activities. The move comes amid a police crackdown on crime ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Investigators said the police also sold weapons to the criminal gangs, reported Reuters. Many of the arrests took place around Duque de Caxias, a suburb outside the city.
An alleged crack addict takes care of her friend at "crackland" near Parque Uniao slum during a police-sanitary operation in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 29, 2012, Brazil. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
An disabled crack addict rests at "crackland", near Parque Uniao. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
A Rio de Janeiro Social Work department agent (R) speaks with an alleged crack addict at "crackland", near Parque Uniao slum during a police-sanitary operation in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 29, 2012, Brazil. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
As alleged crack addict argues with policemen at "crackland", near Parque Uniao slum during a police-sanitary operation in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 29, 2012, Brazil. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
“We can no longer put up with corrupt policemen in our force,” Rio police commander Erir Ribeiro Costa Filho said, according to the BBC.
The commander of the bribe-taking police battalion was also fired.
“It’s important that we cut into our own flesh so the institution can earn legitimacy,” remarked Mariano Beltrame, Rio state security secretary, according to Reuters.
Rio authorities have been trying to curb crime rates in time for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
The officers received as much as $1,200 per week, reported the BBC.
Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes (R) and his press officer for the Rio2016 Olympic Games, Maria Silva, imitate the gesture of Usain Bolt at the Olympic Park in construction in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 20. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy runs past a graffiti at the nearby Salt Stone square (Pedra do Sal, in Portuguese) near the port of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 12, 2012. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
Authorities also said they arrested 11 alleged drug traffickers.
Prosecutors also alleged that the police officers kidnapped some of the drug dealers and their family members for ransom. And if they failed to pay the bribes, the officers conducted operation against the dealers, according to the BBC.
In recent months, more than 20 of Rio’s crime-ridden favelas, or shantytowns, have been occupied by police and army forces.
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Paramilitary riot police show crowd control tactics during an exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 7, 2012. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)
A Brazilian native living in the old indigenous museum --aka Aldea Maracana-- next to Maracana stadium, prays during a protest against Rio de Janeiro's governmet decision to throw them out and pull down the building, to construct 10,500 parking lots for the upcoming Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. (Simon/AFP/Getty Images)