Rocinha druglord arrested in diplomatic car trunk

The rest should be simple

Seen as the most intelligent and sophisticated of Rio’s drug traffickers, Rocinha’s “Nem”, Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, 35, scurried down no sewage pipe, as some are said to have done a year ago, in the Complexo do Alemão. Neither did he go out shooting, as many Rocinha and nearby São Conrado residents feared.

He’d already tried faking his own death, in January 2010.

Around midnight, Nem fled in the trunk of a car with diplomatic plates. The driver identified himself as the consul of the Congo and at first refused to undergo a search as he drove out of the favela. Police agreed to conduct the search at a police station. On the way, in front of the Piraquê club on the Lagoa, the car stopped. The would-be consul offered R$30,000 to the cops, who proceeded to open the trunk. Dressed in a blue-striped button-down shirt and black slacks, Nem put up his hands.

Police also found a million reais in the car.

According to an interview on Globo’s morning news show with Victor Poubel, chief of the Federal Police’s Organized Crime Division, Nem was thankful to be taken in by the more professional Federal Police, instead of the Military Police. From the police station he called his mom, and gave instructions for his children to go to school as usual– though Rocinha’s schools haven’t been functioning as usual in the last few days, in expectation of the elite squad invasion announced for this Sunday.

According to Poubel, Nem– druglord for last four years– plans to serve time in prison (He’s being taken to Bangu this morning) and go straight upon release. He’s accused of drug trafficking and money laundering and may be responsible for the disappearance and probable death of a young woman last May who is said to have been a police informer. If any drug trafficker were to write a book– and make it a bestseller– it would be Nem, who also ran things in Vidigal favela.

In August 2010  Nem’s men invaded the Intercontinental hotel in neighboring São Conrado, taking hostages, after they’d been ambushed on their way home to Rocinha from a dance in Vidigal. The invasion ended peacefully, with negotiation and arrests.

Yesterday, Federal Police carried out fourteen Rocinha arrests as a result of phone taps. Two are said to be drug traffickers who had taken refuge in Rocinha after their own territories had been occupied and pacified; one a military police officer, and two former civil police officers. The police were attempting to “escort” the drug traffickers out of the favela.

Rocinha’s population is estimated at 70,000. If all goes smoothly on Sunday, Rocinha and Vidigal will soon have pacification units, and Rio’s entire South Zone will be considered pacified, with a couple of minor exceptions. Of course this doesn’t mean an end to drug trafficking– only less violence, more order, and an increased presence of city agencies in these favelas.

Police will continue to deal with a myriad of other challenges, including militias, police corruption and management issues and violence in the West Zone.

“The breaks the paradigm of territory as empire,” said State Public Safety Secretary José Mariano Beltrame in a telephone interview with TV Globo, from Berlin.

Today will also see a giant demonstration in downtown Rio, organized by Governor Sérgio Cabral, against a congressional bid to reduce the state’s petroleum royalties. You can follow breaking events on the blog’s Facebook page and on Twitter, by way of @Riorealblog. Riorealblog is also connected to Tumblr and Google+. For regular posts, sign up for a free subscription. Feel free to share any post.

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About Rio real

American journalist, writer, editor who's lived in Rio de Janeiro almost 20 years.
This entry was posted in Brazil, Transformation of Rio de Janeiro / Transformação do Rio de Janeiro and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Rocinha druglord arrested in diplomatic car trunk

  1. Barbara Harrington says:

    Well, the rest of the city was filled with police last night. Lots of cop cars parked here in Santa Teresa and during a meeting downtown near Praça Onze, there were several instances where we had to stop talking because there were so many police helicopters flying overhead. I wonder why these big occupations happen in this month of November — exactly one year ago was the occupation of Alemão… s

  2. Greg Scruggs says:

    There are still unpacified favelas in the Zona Sul — Pereira da Silva, and a couple in Santa Teresa.

  3. Prezada Julia,
    Que dia histórico para a cidade do Rio! Essa é a maior favela do Rio de Janeiro, e também a mais mítica – localizada entre os bairros do Leblon e São Conrado – os de maior renda per capita do estado – vem partindo a cidade ao meio há muito tempo. Por essa razão também é a boca de fumo mais valiosa da cidade, porque está a 5 minutos dos seus principais consumidores. Você bem notou a quantia com que o advogado do Nem tentou subornar a polícia: 1 MILHÃO DE REAIS!!!! Em CASH! Isso vem acontecendo diante de nossos olhos há anos, com a vista grossa de Brizola, Marcello Alencar, Rosinha Garotinho, César Maia etc etc etc. NÃO VOTEI nem em Sérgio Cabral nem no Eduardo Paes, mas agora eu dou aqui meus PARABÉNS! ao Cabral e ao José Mariano Beltrame, chefe de polícia do estado. Que dias melhores venham a todos nós que queremos ir e vir de nossas casas, direito básico constituicional infelizmente ainda sem garantias em todo o Brasil. Há muito por fazer, como você bem notou, na Rocinha mesmo, com certeza, Mas o primeiro passo (gigante) foi dado. E ele era necessário.

  4. Pingback: Rocinha, Vidigal and Chácara do Céu no longer foreign territory « RioReal

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