Police in Brazil say they have arrested more than 20 people as alleged members of a paramilitary militia group operating in Rio de Janeiro.
Inspector Alexandre Capote told reporters Thursday that police have “dismantled Rio’s largest militia group.”
He says the group forced residents in Rio’s lower middle-class district of Campo Grande to pay monthly fees for protection against drug gangs and for services like illegal cable television connections. Police say that people who did not pay up were often tortured and murdered by the group.
Capote says the militia group took in more than $450,000 a month.
Officials say militias operating in many of Rio’s slums are made up of active and former police, firefighters, private security and off-duty prison guards.