SÃO PAULO, Brazil — It was 6 a.m. on a Sunday when Rafael Matos da Silva was jolted awake by the repeated crashes of a battering ram against his front door. When he looked out the second-story window, police in riot gear yelled at him to come downstairs.
He opened the door, and officers stormed inside, shoving Silva onto the sidewalk with other neighbors in their pajamas. The search turned up nothing, but the police told him to leave the door open because they might return.
The operation last month was part of an effort by the new mayor of Sao Paulo to clean up the downtown neighborhood of Nova Luz, better known as Cracolandia for the easy availability of crack cocaine and what the federal government had concluded was the highest concentration of addicts in the world.
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By Jill Langlois
Photos and video by Victor Moriyama for the Los Angeles Times
Originally published in the Los Angeles Times on June 23, 2017.