Hundreds of Brazilian police on Sunday raided two slums in Rio de Janeiro notorious for trafficking crack cocaine.
Brazil is making efforts to deal with its drug problems ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics that will be held in Rio.
Around 800 police moved in on the Jacarezinho and Manguinhos “favelas,” or shantytowns, early in the morning in a bid to claim the slums from drug trafficking gangs, reported AFP. They were backed by armored personnel carriers.
“We are celebrating another step toward peace,” Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, told Globo News, referring to the police action over the weekend.
Adding further, police spokesman Colonel Federico Caldas also told Globo: “The situation is calm. There have been no incidents, but we are prepared for any possible development,” according to AFP.
However, at least five suspected drug traffickers were shot and killed in a shootout with police on Saturday, the EFE news agency reported.
Following the raid, police will now patrol Jacarezinho and Rio authorities will deploy agents who are specially trained to take care of the drug and violence problem in Manguinhos, AFP reported.
Police said they seized three grenades, a submachine gun, and three handguns in Saturday’s operation.
In a study released last month, researchers with Federal University of Sao Paulo found that Brazil is the world’s largest consumer of crack cocaine and has the second largest market for cocaine after the United States, according to AFP.
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