Brazilian authorities in Rio de Janeiro state have carried out a massive crackdown on police corruption, arresting more than 60 officers Tuesday accused of aiding drug gangs in exchange for bribes.
Tuesday’s arrests, part of what authorities have dubbed “Operation Purification,” are the culmination of a year-long investigation.
"We can no longer put up with corrupt policemen in our force," Rio Military Police Commander Erir Ribeiro Costa Filho said, the BBC reported.
Warrants were issued for 65 officers, 61 of whom have been arrested so far, according to the Associated Press.
Many of the officers were charged with taking monthly bribes up to $1,200 from drug dealers for overlooking criminal activity. Other charges included racketeering, kidnapping and extortion, which often involved holding some gang members and their relatives for ransom.
In addition, 11 suspected drug dealers affiliated with the Red Command, Rio’s most powerful drug gang, were arrested, with seven others remaining at large.
Brazil has launched a major anti-crime campaign in Rio in a effort to prepare for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
In the state capital alone, security forces numbering more than 6,500 have occupied some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods with the aim of controlling some 40 favelas by 2014.