Brazil judge orders release of suspected militia members

April 26, 2018 GMT

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian judge has ordered the release of most of the 159 suspects arrested earlier this month in an operation to combat a militia group in Rio de Janeiro.

Judge Eduardo Marques Hablitschek ordered the release Wednesday saying there was no concrete evidence against 137 of the suspects.

The arrests took place on April 7 after a shootout ensued when police raided what was said to be the headquarters of the militia operating out of Rio’s Santa Cruz neighborhood. The clash left four suspects dead.

Police found rifles, handguns and several grenades at the property.

Groups of militias operating in many of Rio’s slums are said to be made up of active and former police, firefighters, private security and off-duty prison guards.