Arrests of Brazilian Police Spur Drive Against Graft
By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO
Published: February 14, 2011SÃO PAULO, Brazil — After the federal police arrested 30 police officers in Rio de Janeiro on Friday who were suspected of working with drug traffickers, José Mariano Beltrame, the state’s seniorpolice official, said that rooting out corrupt officers would be a priority this year.
Mr. Beltrame said that federal officers involved in a major corruption investigation called Operation Guillotinehad arrested 38 people, including 20 officers from Rio’s military police and an additional 10 officers from the city’s civil police.
“In no part of the world do police turn the page with this type ofpeople,” said Mr. Beltrame, who is the security chief for the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Among those arrested was Carlos Antonio Oliveira, a former deputy chief of the civil police who has beenworking in the mayor’s office as deputy chief of operations in the Secretariat of Public Order.
The mayor’s office immediately exonerated Mr. Oliveira after he turned himself in on Friday, saying that hehad left the police force before the suspected activity took place. But his previous relationship as a deputy to the current chief of the civil police, Allan Turnowski, is causing a crisis within thedepartment. Mr. Beltrame said later that he had confidence in Chief Turnowski.
The officers were accused of reselling arms to traffickers, tipping criminals to police actions and taking items fromtraffickers during police operations. The investigators said one gang was operating a militia inside a slum.
Mr. Beltrame has led a government effort in Rio to take back control of poorneighborhoods that have been controlled by drug gangs, by flooding areas with elite squads of police officers and then installing a community police force.
The program has won praise from residents, and the...