The state is almost completely absent in the favelas. The drug gangs impose their own systems of justice, law and order, and taxation – all by force of arms. A black market in guns from other countries has abetted a mind-numbing level of violence. As in Mexico, many of Brazil's illegal weapons come from the United States; but Russian arms have begun to show up in recent years, and the weapons have been getting more powerful. Rio's gangsters have been caught with military-issue machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons. Semi-automatic assault rifles and hand grenades are commonplace.
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