Rio Drug Boss Surrenders to Police, Citing Pressures of Business

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A drug boss in Rio de Janeiro’s North Zone surrendered to the authorities shortly before his stronghold was due to receive an influx of police, explaining that he wants to spend more time with his family.

Cristiano Santos Guedes, alias “Puma,” a drug boss in the Morro da Quitanda favela in the northern Rio neighborhood of Costa Barros, has turned himself in, G1 reported. There were reportedly four warrants for his arrest for drug trafficking and attempted murder.

A top Rio state intelligence official said Puma was part of the same group as the captured trafficker Antonio Bonfim Lopes, known as “Nem.” Nem headed the Amigos dos Amigos gang, and was based in Rocinha favela until his capture in November last year.

Puma was taken to the authorities by the head of the NGO Afroreggae, whose services he had first sought out in September last year. “I did this here for my family. I was spending lots of time hiding, and that’s not cool,” the trafficker reportedly said. “The suffering of drug trafficking is very great. Sometimes I wanted to talk to my daughter, wanted to take her to school even and I couldn’t. Today I am reborn and I’m very happy.”

The accused drug boss was arrested in 2007, but skipped bail and stayed on the run until turning himself in this week.

InSight Crime Analysis

Puma had reason to flee the neighborhood. The trafficker’s resignation follows an announcement that Costa Barros would be receiving extra police presence, while a rash of gang violence in the area has claimed many suspected traffickers.

The outbreak of killings may have been sparked by police occupations elsewhere in the city, such as the favelas of Macacos and Rocinha, which have forced traffickers to flee to Rio’s North Zone. The resulting influx of traffickers in areas like Costa Barros has ignited turf warfare between groups. It’s possible that Puma’s surrender was connected to this gang warfare, and that his life was in danger if he stayed on the streets.

While the head of the UPP program said the nearby Costa Barros favela of Chapadao was bound for a unit, following the death of a 19-year-old woman (shot with her daughter on her lap) during a confrontation between police and traffickers, he did not offer a specific date for the unit’s installation, the R7 news website reported.

(See video, below, about Puma and the Amigos.)

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