Rio de Janeiro's special police forces announced Sunday that they were in entire command of one of the city's largest and most ill-famed shantytowns, Rocinha, later on a predawn operation intended at wresting control from drug traffickers.
The operation, requiring 3,000 police and security forces, had effectively engaged Rocinha and neighboring slums Vidigal and Chacara do Ceu, the Rio de Janeiro government stated on its website.
"The next stage will be looking for the criminals that were able to get out of the places we are working," military police Col. Alberto Pinheiro Neto told reporters Sunday morning.
Almost 100,000 people live in Rocinha.
Approximately 200 navy commandos with armored personnel carriers and helicopters also took part in the operation. Roads were barricaded at 2:30 a.m. and troops set off pulling in around 4 a.m., according to the local government.
The immense operation is part of Rio's efforts to annihilate crime and apprehend drug traffickers in one of the country¹s most crimson cities in advance of the 2014 World Cup.
Rio de Janeiro Gov. Sergio Cabral stated the alleged "Shock of Peace" operation was a "historic chapter."
"We are rescuing communities that were abandoned for decades and dominated by parallel powers," he told reporters. "These are people who need to be able to raise their children in peace."
The operation will have an impact beyond Rocinha, which provides 80% of the drugs in Rio de Janeiro, Congresswoman Marina Magessi told .
"We are certain that from now until the end of the year, there will be a shortage of drugs present in Rio," stated Magessi, an ex- police inspector accountable for catching some of Rio's top criminals.
Police have already "pacified" dozens of favelas since they commenced operations in 2008, however it's a rising battle. About one-fifth of Rio¹s populace live in the city's 1,000 shantytowns, numerous of them hanging on vertical hills overlooking beachside condominiums.
Sunday's operation stands in severe distinction to the assault of the Alemao favela last year when more than 30 people were murdered in shootouts.
Police apprehended Rocinha's top alleged drug trafficker days earlier than they moved in. They found Antonio Francisco Bomfim, known as Nem, in the trunk of a car.
On Sunday, police reported detaining a handful of automatic guns and other weapons. They also found the vertical and twisting roads leading into Rocinha enclosed with oil, seemingly an endeavor to make it harder for police to get into.