HomeNewsBriefDrug Trafficking Reports on the Rise in 'Pacified' Rio Favela
BRIEF

Drug Trafficking Reports on the Rise in 'Pacified' Rio Favela

BRAZIL / 11 APR 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

The Rocinha favela complex in Rio de Janeiro has seen 75 percent more reports of drug trafficking so far this year than in the same period in 2011, which could suggest greater cooperation between the community and police units who are occupying the neighborhood.

In the first three months of 2012, Rocinha residents made 312 reports of drug trafficking, compared to 178 for the same period in 2011, according to O Globo. Residents have also reported that there are illicit groups of armed men patrolling the streets.

The neighborhood was invaded by military police in November 2011 to clear the way for a pacifying police unit, (UPP). Days before the operation, police arrested Amigos dos Amigos gang leader Antonio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, alias "Nem," as he attempted to flee the favela in the trunk of a car.

O Globo reports that 10 people have been killed in Rochinha so far this year, while police engaged in at least three shoot-outs with suspects in the last week.

InSight Crime Analysis

An increase in reports of drug trafficking could point to a higher level of cooperation between the community and the authorities, with the public trusting the police and feeling confident enough to report crime.

However, given the high levels of violence that have been seen in Rocinha this year, these reports could also be a sign of the continued presence of organized crime in the neighborhood despite the military police occupation.

In recent weeks, a community leader set to testify about Nem's activities was shot to death in the street and a military police corporal from the elite BOPE unit was murdered, the first time a police officer has been killed in a pacified Rio favela. The police invasion of Rocinha and capture of Nem is thought to have upset the balance of power and prompted an outbreak of violence between rival groups, namely the Amigos dos Amigos and Comando Vermelho.

Police are set to double their presence in Rochina with an additional 350 officers.

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 / 12 SEP 2011

Hundreds of military police reinforcements were sent to Complexo de Alemao, a shantytown in the north of Rio de Janeiro, after…

BRAZIL / 24 JUN 2016

Much of the South American cocaine destined for global markets flows through Brazil according a UN report, and there are…

MEXICO / 14 JAN 2014

Mexico’s state governments are failing to make use of federal funds to clean up the police, a telling example of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…