Saturday, February 12, 2011

More than 20 police officers have been arrested in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro in an operation to purge the force of links to criminal gangs

Some officers are accused of working for drugs traffickers, others of helping illegal paramilitary groups that fight the security forces. The allegations include selling guns and drugs that had been seized. The arrests follow a long investigation by Brazil's federal police involving informants and phone taps. In all, arrest warrants were issued for 45 people, including 32 civil or military police officers. Nearly 400 federal police officers were involved in the arrests, many of them brought in from other areas. In December 2010, 13 police officers were arrested on suspicion of belonging to a criminal gang accused of arms trafficking and extortion in a poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Rio's military police are on the front line of the fight against drugs gangs which dominate many of the city's poorest districts or favelas.

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