MACAPÁ, Brazil — The pirates of the Amazon River relish striking after nightfall.
Wearing balaclavas, 15 of the marauders stormed Merinaldo Paiva’s riverboat as dozens of his passengers dozed in their hammocks. Suddenly, they woke to find rifles pointed at their heads.
The gunmen took cash, jewelry, smartphones, fuel and even food, forcing everyone to lie facedown on the deck. Then they disappeared on speedboats into the Amazon, a waterway so vast that some in Brazil’s frontier call it the river-sea.
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