Brazilian police on Friday presented a reputed drug trafficker they say was a major supplier of cocaine sold in the sprawling shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro.
Eduardo Herculano da Silva, who was detained Wednesday, is accused of smuggling around 200 kilos a month of cocaine into Brazil from Bolivia and Paraguay, the Rio de Janeiro state police said.
The suspect used trucks to carry the drugs into Complexo da Mare, a cluster of “favelas,” or shantytowns, on the north side of this city, police said.
Cops and soldiers occupied Complexo da Mare last month in an operation to expel drug gangs.
Police say Da Silva was a key supplier to Comando Vermelho (Red Command), Rio’s most powerful criminal organization, which continues to control several favelas despite authorities’ “pacification” campaign.
The suspect was arrested Wednesday night along with one of his associates while allegedly negotiating the delivery of a cocaine consignment to the Nova Holanda neighborhood of Complexo da Mare.
Da Silva had been trying to close the deal since April 5, but found his efforts obstructed by the security forces’ occupation of Complexo da Mare, police inspector Delmir Gouveia said.
The eight armed bodyguards accompanying Da Silva at the time of his arrest managed to get away after exchanging shots with the police.
“Complexo da Mare was the Comando Vermelho depot for distribution of drugs to other favelas controlled by that organization,” Gouveia said.
Da Silva, the police inspector said, “told us that if we hadn’t arrested him that night, we might never have found him because he intended to undergo plastic surgery and settle in Bolivia.”