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The World | IN BRIEF / BRAZIL

Fear of Drug Gangs Closes Rio Businesses

October 01, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Thousands of businesses in crime-plagued Rio de Janeiro shut down after powerful drug lords reportedly ordered a lockdown.

Police pleaded for storekeepers--including some in the city center and the posh South Zone, with its famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches--not to cave in to the pressure.

Gangs control hundreds of Rio's shantytowns and often order shops and schools to close when a prominent gang member is arrested or killed. Media reports said Monday's shutdown was ordered to protest jail conditions for notorious drug lord Luiz Fernando da Costa, also known as Freddy Seashore.

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