May 23 (UPI) -- More than 500 security forces in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo launched an anti-drug operation in the so-called "Crackland" area and arrested at least 38 people, Gov. Geraldo Alckmin said.
Alckmin, who has been Sao Paulo's governor since 2011, said officers found weapons and at least 10 pounds of crack in the area known as Cracolandia, or Crackland.
"This is the job of the police: to arrest the traffickers, to remove weapons and drugs," Alckmin said in a press conference.
In response to the raid on Sunday, many of the Crackland residents reacted violently by vandalizing cars and looting local stores, Sao Paulo police said.
Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria said "Crackland doesn't exist any more and it won't come back."
"The government won't allow it ... Police will be deployed here permanently and the problem will be reduced," Doria said, though he later added that it "will be difficult to put an end to a historical problem."
Doria said the city will set up surveillance cameras and will also demolish locations known to accommodate users, such as cheap hostels used by addicts.
Sao Paulo Public Secretariat Mágino Alves said two key drug traffickers were arrested, including one accused in the murder of a first responder.