Rio de Janeiro drug lord detained in military operation

Rocinha favela drug boss Rogerio Avelino da Silva nicknamed

The arrest of Rogerio Avelino da Silva came amid an operation in the northern part of the city that included almost 3,000 police and army soldiers who have been sent in to help stabilise areas of frequent conflict.

Police and soldiers on Wednesday captured one of Rio de Janeiro's most wanted drug trafficking bosses, officials said.

Police say Rogerio 157 controlled part of the sprawling Rocinha favela, which he took over after the arrest of the drug lord known as "Nem" for whom he used to work as a bodyguard.

"The trafficker Rogerio Avelino da Silva, or Rogerio 157, was detained in the community of Arara, in (Rio's) Northern Zone, in a joint operation of security forces... with support from the armed forces", Rio de Janeiro's state security secretary tweeted.

Rogerio 157 was wanted for drug trafficking, homicide and extortion.

The arrest of the man known to most by his nickname "Rogerio 157" came after months of failed attempts.

Minutes after the arrest of Rogerio 157 Wednesday morning, there were reports of gunfire could be heard in the Rocinha. A $15,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.

In August and September, battles between followers of da Silva and a former Rocinha boss, who is in prison, prompted authorities to send in military police and soldiers to stabilise the area.

The capture of the crime boss represents a rare victory for the Rio authorities, as they struggle to contain rising violence in the city, which just one year ago hosted the Olympic Games.

News portal G1 showed video of him handcuffed and being led by police.

Da Silva moved to take complete control of Rocinha and began collecting taxes from Rocinha residents and seizing control of cooking gas distribution, among other economically important activities.

According to Brazilian media, Rogerio 157 ruled over impoverished neighborhoods like a war lord, rather than merely a drug trafficker.



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