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Rio Drug Lord Found in Trunk of Car

The capture of a slum drug lord boosts Rio's drive to clean itself up in time for the World Cup and the Olympics.


Cops take no chances as Lopes is led away.
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By Ariel Nagi


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Brazilian cops nabbed Rio De Janeiro's most wanted drug dealer yesterday. Gang leader Antonio Bonfim Lopes, 35, known as "Nem," was in the trunk of a car being driven away in haste from the Rocinha slum, prior to an anticipated police takeover. The vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint, where the other passengers tried to deflect the cops with a bribe of almost $600,000. Rio's finest declined, opened the trunk and bagged their prize. Nem heads a drug gang that controls Rocinha—one of Rio's largest slums, home to around 100,000 people. He's known for a fondness for Armani suits, and lived in some luxurious pads within Rocinha, including a villa with a swimming pool. His alleged resume includes drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping and money laundering. Rio's cracking down on its lawless slums as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Police hope to enlist residents to help—they're even offering pre-paid cell phones to those who cooperate. "The gang is being dismantled," says Alberto Pinheiro Neto, head of operations for Rio state police. "This is a good moment for law-abiding citizens who want to see their children living in peace to pass information on where criminals, guns and drugs are hidden."

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