Brazil: Suspect Arrested for Stolen Weapons from Army Was a Soldier

Wednesday morning, March 15, the Brazilian Army arrested its first suspect in the case of the rifles stolen from the Central Transport Unit (ECT) in the northern zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

He is an ex-corporal, Joelson Basí­lia da Silva, who used to work in the garrison and has been on leave since February. According to information from the Military Public Defense Ministry, he was arrested when he showed up to testify.

Silva was presumably identified by the victims, that is, the soldiers who were on duty in the wee morning hours of March 3, when armed criminals invaded the unit and stole the weapons. The Army used a temporary arrest warrant issued by the courts.

The weapons were recovered on Tuesday, March 14. The Army had withdrawn Monday, March 13, from several Rio de Janeiro favelas (shantytowns) it had invaded in an effort to recover the stolen weapons.

The withdrawal of the 1.600 soldiers equipped for urban anti terrorist warfare who occupied the favelas for ten days was celebrated with shots fired to the air by drug dealers and the applause and booing of residents who complained about the Army’s heavy hand.

The operation in ten of Rio’s most notorious favelas was ordered following the theft from the Army’s headquarter in Rio of several rifles and pistols. The Army on orders from a Military Judge moved in with infantry, armored vehicles and helicopters.

During the ten days occupation soldiers were challenged by drug traffickers with some exchange of fire. The Army reported no losses but it’s believed that several civilians were killed and wounded in the shootings.

The operation included blocking off several poor neighborhoods in an effort to quash drug dealing, a business that in some of the occupied areas rakes in as much as US$ 150 million per month, according to official estimates released by the Rio media.

ABr, Mercopress

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Guest

    No time for insults
    To the above, you are too serious. I am writing in a lighthearted way because Brazil is a comical country.

    You say Brazil needs to do more of these exercises in order to impose law and order. But, does it really help if the Army are stealing the weapons and suppying them to the criminals in the favelas? Isn’t that a catch 22 situatio?. And, what if these guns were used by the criminals against the Army? Don’t make no sense to me. As for the government and its nepotism, institutionalized corruption and impunity. Would you say they are upright pillars of society? Give me a break! I would not trust any of these people with a bargepole or put my life in their hands.

    “If the head of the river is dirty, how could the bottom be clean?”

  • Guest

    wow you are soooo stupid
    What brazil needs is to do more of these excercises in order to impose order and protect it’s citizens. You already decide in your mind that the goverment is not worth shit…well them get a hell out of there ass hole…. go to cuba…they would love there!!!

  • Guest

    UN PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
    Who can be trusted in Brazil? Will this soilder go to court only to have his case absolved through lack of evidence?

    Why arn’t these Government officers setting examples to its citizens, instead of this unprofessional conduct.One can see why Brazilians have no faith in the law.

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