In a rare victory, Brazilian police have expressed "euphoria" over the arrest of notorious drug lord Rogerio Avelino da Silva, also known as Rogerio 157, in Rio De Janeiro’s largest favela.
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Rocinha, which houses nearly 100,000 people, is nestled between three of the richest neighborhoods in the city – Leblon, São Conrado and Gávea – and is an extremely profitable aea for the cocaine trade.
Once a fairly peaceful favela, it has experienced a rise in gang violence in the past few months. Residents recently filmed gang members firing automatic weapons in the narrow streets, prompting the deployment of more than 1,000 police and soldiers with armored cars and helicopters.
Nearly 3,000 police personnel took part in the operation that led to the arrest of the 35-year-old drug lord on allegations of drug trafficking, extortion and murder.
Gabriel Ferrando, one of the officers involved, described the arrest as "a victory for Rio."
An award of US$15,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest of da Silva, who had previously eluded police with ease, AFP reported.
Da Silva was head of security for the "Don" of Rocinha, Antonio Bomfim Lopes, also known as Nem of Rocinha before he was arrested in 2011.
According to news reports, da Silva switched factions from the "Amigos Dos Amigos" (Friends of Friends) and moved on to join "Comando Vermelho" (Red Command) in September, angering Nem, who has been trying to control his gang from behind bars.
After the news broke that police had captured the trafficker, Rocinha residents reported shoot-outs in the favela. Some believe they were celebrations by members of rival gangs, O Globo reported.