Dec. 6 (UPI) — Rio de Janeiro’s most-wanted drug trafficker and alleged gang leader was arrested Wednesday in a Brazilian police operation, authorities said.
Rogerio Avelino de Souza, dubbed “Rogerio 157,” was arrested and detained at a woman’s home in the Arara “favela,” located in Rio’s port zone, according to news4europe.
A gun battle erupted during the operation in Rocinha, a town where police say de Souza’s gang controls the local drug trade. In September, as a rival gang attempted to invade the area, a turf war started that reportedly killed several people during a multitude of shootouts.
Officials said during Wednesday’s sting, de Souza tried to pretend he was a relative of the owner of the house, but the agents recognized him, The Rio Times reported.
“He was hiding in a house about 300 meters from the prison where (ex-governor) Cabral is. He was in modest house with two security guards when the police arrived,” one of the police officers responsible for the arrest said.
De Souza is accused of homicide, drug trafficking and criminal conspiracy.
A surge in violent crime dating back to the 2016 Rio Olympics has led to deployment of about 10,000 soldiers to bolster security in the city. This year, about 4,000 people — including 124 police officers — have been victims of violent deaths in Rio de Janeiro, according to news4europe.
De Souza was arrested in 2010 for his role with a group that took hostages in the Intercontinental Hotel located at São Conrado beach. He was released in 2012.