Civilian police stand in position during an anti-narcotics operation at the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilian police raided one of Rio's largest slums on Tuesday, seizing large quantities of cocaine and rounding up 53 drug addicts.
The Jacarezinho favela, in the northern part of the city, is considered a stronghold of Rio's criminal gangs, according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
Set to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Rio is undertaking an unprecedented effort to control the ungoverned shantytowns where violent gangs have long hidden among the working poor.
Last fall, police planted the Brazilian flag on a hilltop in the one of the city’s most violent slums after days of gun battles, claiming victory over the drug traffickers once headquartered there.
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With the police occupation of Complexo do Alemao — home to some 100,000 people — the Jacarezinho favela is one of the largest slums not yet pacified by the police.
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Since the end of March, police have gone into Jacarezinho eight times to round up addicts, reports O Globo. Last week, in addition to bringing in 47 people, they seized knives, mortars, homemade bombs and material for the consumption of crack. The addicts are then sent to city shelters or hospitalized for drug addiction treatment.
Residents of the favela describe it as a place that is falling apart, its streets filled with dirt, mud, polluted drain water and drug dealing.
Municipal police argue with a presumed drug addict found sleeping on the street during an anti-narcotics operation.
A municipal employee wakes up a presumed drug addict found sleeping on the street in the Jacarezinho favela.
Paramilitary police put drugs seized during the operation into an armored car.
Civilian police personnel deploy during an anti-narcotics operation at the Jacarezinho favela.
Paramilitary police patrol the Jacarezinho favela.
Municipality personnel accompany presumed drug addicts found sleeping on the street.
A police officer taking cover behind a wall takes aim with his assault rifle.
Rio's municipality personnel escorted by police take part in an anti-narcotics operation at the Jacarezinho favela.
Paramilitary police show to the press cocaine seized at the Jacarezinho favela.
Photos: Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images
Hannah McGoldrick contributed to this story
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