Brazil's 'most wanted' drugs suspect caught in Paraguay


Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazil's most wanted alleged narco trafficker was arrested Wednesday in neighboring Paraguay, Brazilian officials said.

Marcelo Fernando Pinheiro Veiga, known as "Marcelo Piloto," is accused of murder and supplying drugs and weapons to Rio de Janeiro's biggest criminal gang, the Comando Vermelho, or Red Command.

He was detained in the Paraguayan city of Encarnacion on the Argentinian border and just west of the Brazilian border, said Rio state's security service, which called the fugitive "the most wanted trafficker in Brazil."

The arrest will be "a major blow against the criminal organization in Rio de Janeiro," it said.

More than 8,000 soldiers were deployed to Rio in July to help overwhelmed police. The Red Command and other gangs control much of the poor, unregulated favela neighborhoods, and shootings are a daily occurrence.

About a quarter of Rio's population lives in favelas.