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Rio's favelas raided in major drug bust

Rio de Janeiro's slums were raided early Sunday morning by over 1,500 police and troops.

Rio slum raidEnlarge
Paramilitary police personnel patrol an alley during a raid at Rocinha shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 14, 2012. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro's favelas were the targets of major drug raids by over 1,500 police and military personnel early Sunday morning. 

Raids of notorious drug hotspots Jacarezinho and Manguinhos, where crack cocaine trafficking runs rampant, began at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Brazil's "pacification" efforts are part of the country's attempts to have more of a state presence in the slums. They are working to clean up Rio's streets in time for the 2014 World Cup, and keep them safe until the 2016 Olympics, CNN reported

According to BBC News' Brazil correspondent Julia Carneiro, police have "pacified" over 20 such shantytowns since 2008.

The police and military personnel, backed up by armored cars and helicopters, picked up 51 crack users during the raid, including five minors, Agence France Presse reported

More from GlobalPost: In Latin America, 'critical mass' urges end to drug war

No injuries were reported on Sunday, but another raid Saturday left five suspected drug dealers dead, CNN reported. 

“We are celebrating another step toward peace,” Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, told Globo News, referring to the weekend raids.

Some of the favelas' residents, however, are not as optimistic. 

"It's useless," said one bystander watching the raid, AFP reported. "They have a cup of coffee, take a bath and come back." 

Brazil is the number one consumer of crack cocaine in the world, according to a study released last month by the Sao Paulo Federal University. After the US, it is the second largest consumer of cocaine and its derivative drugs. 

More from GlobalPost: 1,500 residents in Rio de Janeiro participate in shantytown peace race

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/121014/rio-favelas-raided-major-drug-bust