HomeNewsBriefCrack Cocaine Driving Violence in Brazil Murder Capital
BRIEF

Crack Cocaine Driving Violence in Brazil Murder Capital

BRAZIL / 9 APR 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Authorities say that homicides are rising in Maceio, the world's third most violent city, thanks to the spread of crack cocaine across Brazil.

According to an AFP report, murder rates in the coastal city are up 180 percent from 10 years ago, making it Brazil's most violent city. With a population of 1.1 million, the city's murder rate is 109 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to the national rate of 26 per 100,000.

Police say much of the violence is linked to the city's booming trade for crack cocaine.

"Most addicts are killed because they can't pay back the debt they own their dealer," one military police officer tells the AFP in a video (see below). "The traffickers like to show who's boss to ensure they get their money, so they make an example of the user by murdering him."

InSight Crime Analysis

Thanks to the security surges in larger cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, drug traffickers have been pushed into new markets. This includes poorer cities like Maceio, where the state government is ridden with debt and lacks the budget for community policing and social projects.

But the city is not alone in its struggle against crack addiction. Brazil's health minister has said that the country is facing "an epidemic" of cocaine and crack use, and the national government has budgeted $2 billion to curb the spread of the drug.

Crack is basically the leftovers from the cocaine production process. Maceio may have built up a large crack market thanks to the dynamics of the Brazilian drug trade, in which dealers who purchase a cocaine shipment for distribution frequently must also buy a percentage of by-product. Prison gang the First Capital Command (PCC) was reportedly able to build up a sizeable crack cocaine market in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo using this strategy.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 11 JAN 2021

Within the span of a week, cocaine was discovered in two separate maritime cargo containers bound for Libya, a strong…

BRAZIL / 29 MAR 2021

Authorities in Brazil have seized thousands of live freshwater fish native to the country’s Amazon region that are commonly seen…

BRAZIL / 4 MAY 2021

Around two hundred women were trafficked from Brazil to foreign countries by a gang based in São Paulo, which was…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…