Rio de Janeiro state police have occupied the Chatuba "favela," or shantytown, where drug traffickers massacred six young men and killed a police cadet in the past few days, Brazilian officials said Tuesday.

About 100 officers from special units took up positions early Tuesday at the roads leading into Chatuba, which is in the Rio suburb of Mesquita.

The police units were supported by armored cars provided by the navy, officials said.

No shots were fired and officers launched a search for the members of the gang suspected of being behind the killings that occurred in the area recently.

Luis Ferreira de Oliveira, a suspected drug trafficker, was arrested and officers found drugs and 15,000 reais (about $7,500) at his residence, the Rio de Janeiro Public Safety Secretariat said.

Police accuse the gang that operates in Chatuba of being behind the killings of six teenagers whose bodies were found on Monday in an alley in Mesquita.

The teenagers, who were reported missing on Saturday, were beaten, shot numerous times and stabbed, police said.

The bodies of the victims, who ranged in age from 15 to 17, were discovered wrapped in bedsheets in an alley in Mesquita's Jacutinga neighborhood.

The young men, who did not have criminal records, were heading to a waterfall near their homes and never made it there.

Investigators suspect that the teenagers may have been murdered by the gang from Chatuba because they came from a neighborhood where a rival gang operates.

The gang is also suspected of being behind the murders of a police cadet and an evangelical minister on Saturday, as well as the disappearance of the minister's companion.

The murders were committed by gunmen working for gang leader Ramilton Moura da Silva, Mesquita police precinct chief Julio da Silva Filho said. EFE