World / Crime & Legal

Sao Paulo police en masse make sweep through city's 'crackland' in bid to bust up drug trade


More than 500 police officers have swept through an area of Sao Paulo known as “crackland” in a crackdown on the brazen drug trafficking there.

The Sao Paulo state government says the operation began Sunday morning and is part of efforts to revitalize Sao Paulo’s downtown. Many businesses fled the city’s center years ago and it is now home to most of Sao Paulo’s homeless.

For years, Brazilian authorities have tried to get the country’s crack problem under control. In Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, that means cleaning up open-air markets where the drug is sold and used.

Police had arrest warrants for 69 people associated with the drug trade in Sunday’s operation.

Gov. Geraldo Alckmin says authorities will help users seek treatment.