Brazil: Police Seize Gang’s Reptiles
Published: September 3, 2008

Police officers found two caimans while searching for the leader of a drug gang in a poor section of Rio de Janiero on Wednesday. They said the caimans, crocodilelike reptiles, were being used by drug traffickers to intimidate their enemies and dispose of bodies. “The caimans are a symbol of power of the traffickers,” said Ronaldo Oliveira, the commander of the police department’s robbery and car theft unit, according to the Web site of the newspaper O Globo. “When they catch a rival, they kill him and give him to the caimans.” Television reports showed police officers carefully placing the caimans, which were found in the backyard of a house, in the back of a truck.