A multi-agency task force issued warrants for 65 police officers and 11 alleged drug traffickers in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro Tuesday after a year-long investigation into bribery and corruption there, according to the state’s Department of Security.
The police officers were accused of accepting bribes in return for avoiding members of certain criminal groups and areas in the region surrounding Rio de Janeiro, which is mostly controlled by the organized crime group "Comando Vermelho," or "Red Command," the Department of Security said in an announcement Tuesday.
Investigators say the policemen also sold weapons to the gangs, according to some media reports.
The probe came amid an effort by Brazil to clean up the government ahead of the country's roles as host of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
The two massive sporting events are expected to provide Brazil with an economic boost, but also immeasurable opportunities for corruption, experts predict. During such events, criminals often exploit the local businesses and the events themselves with schemes for kickbacks, bribes, cronyism, and match-fixing, especially if there is weak oversight.