37 killed in Brazil drug raids

Sao Paulo: At least 37 people were killed, over 100 arrested and over 500 weapons and 34 tonnes of drugs seized in operations against drug gangs in two slums in Rio de Janeiro, police said.

Aided by the Brazilian army, which supplied tanks, gear and soldiers, Rio de Janeiro's police forces raided the shantytowns of Vila Cruzeiro and Complexo do Alemao - which houses some 400,000 residents - and seized 200 handguns, 140 rifles, 73 revolvers, 35 machine guns and other firearms including 38 grenades and six homemade bombs.

A total of 118 people were arrested, including 21 minors, in the raids carried out during November 21-Dec 2, the state-run Agencia Brasil news agency said.

Police also seized 33.8 tonnes of marijuana, 313.9 kg cocaine, 54 kg crack cocaine and two kilograms of hashish.

The raids were part of the government's plan to clean up the city's image before it hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

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