In Brazil Sao Paulo police take out drugs haven

Police checked people going into the neighborhood in an attempt to prevent what had been a haven for dealers and drug users from reestablishing itself.

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A drug addict lights an improvised pipe on the street in "Cracolandia" in 2014 play

A drug addict lights an improvised pipe on the street in "Cracolandia" in 2014

(AFP/File)
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Police in Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo, erected road blocks on Monday around a notorious neighborhood nicknamed "Cracolandia" or Crack Land to keep out drug dealers following a mass raid.

Police checked people going into the neighborhood in an attempt to prevent what had been a haven for dealers and drug users from reestablishing itself.

On Sunday, some 900 police officers poured into "Cracolandia," which swarmed with addicts living under makeshift shelters.

Officials said they arrested 38 suspected drug dealers and impounded 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of crack cocaine, as well as several firearms.

Sao Paulo's ambitious Mayor Joao Doria, seen as a strong outsider candidate for Brazil's 2018 presidential election, toured the cleared area, which has long plagued the city authorities.

"Cracolandia is finished," he said.

However, Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin was more cautious, saying: "We have to understand that this cannot be resolved in 24 hours. It is a chronic problem involving the police, the social services and public health."

Major police operations were launched in "Cracolandia" in 2012, 2015 and last year, but each time the drugs community settled back in.

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