RIO DE JANEIRO – At least eight people were arrested on Thursday in an operation involving more than 3,000 soldiers and police in four favelas (slums) on this Brazilian metropolis’s north side, officials said.
The goal of the operation was to locate and arrest suspects in the killing of police officer Fabio Monteiro, whose body was found in the trunk of a car last Friday near the Arara and Jacarezinho favelas, two of the areas targeted on Thursday.
One of the eight individuals detained had two outstanding arrest warrants.
But Wendel Luis Silvestre, the chief suspect in the killing of the police officer, still has not been located, apparently because he had been alerted beforehand to the security operation, the G1 news portal reported.
During the operation, carried out in the favelas of Jacarezinho, Manguinhos, Mandela and Arara, police officers also confiscated drugs and firearms.
Train tracks nailed into the streets in Jacarezinho were used as barricades to impede the entry of the security forces.
In other areas, the police and soldiers came upon mountains of garbage that could only be removed with heavy machinery.
Rio’s favelas have been beset by a surge in violent crime dating back to the 2016 Olympics.
Some 10,000 soldiers were deployed in mid-2017 to bolster security in Rio and are scheduled to remain there until the end of this year.
Figures provided by the state government’s Public Safety Institute show that 6,731 murders occurred last year in Rio de Janeiro state, or 40 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
That represented the highest level of homicides since 2009, when 7,106 murders were committed.