‘Friends’ Gang Leader Arrested in Rio de Janeiro

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Brazilian police arrested a gang leader trying to escape a Rio de Janeiro favela in the trunk of a car.

Antonio Bonfim Lopes, alias “Nem,” had nine arrest warrants pending and an approximate $3,000 reward on his head. Lopes was trying to escape Rio’s largest favela in anticipation of the arrival of a police pacification unit (known as the UPP) on November 13.

Lopes is an alleged commander of the Friends of Friends (Amigos dos Amigos – ADA) gang. Based in Rocinha favela since 1998, the ADA is a splinter group of prison gang the Red Command (Comando Vermelho). Similarly to other Rio gangs, the ADA imposed curfews, taxed local residents and handled the local drug trade.

Police previously targeted Lopes in operation carried out last April, but he avoided arrest.

Lopes became one of ADA’s top commanders in 2005. 

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