Paraguay anti-drug prosecutor shot dead on honeymoon in Colombia | Drugs News


Marcelo Pecci, 45, was fatally shot whereas enjoyable on a seashore on Colombia’s Carribean island of Baru, his spouse says.

Paraguayan anti-drug prosecutor Marcelo Pecci has been shot useless whereas honeymooning on a Colombian Caribbean island by males who fled by sea, police and his widow mentioned.

Paraguay’s president denounced the crime as a “cowardly homicide” and a fellow prosecutor mentioned the modus operandi was paying homage to “the [drug] mafia”.

Pecci, 45, was felled by two pictures on Tuesday whereas enjoyable on a seashore on the vacationer island of Baru, in line with his spouse, Paraguayan journalist Claudia Aguilera, whom he married on April 30 within the close by metropolis of Cartagena.

“Two males attacked Marcelo. They got here in a small boat, or on a jet ski, the reality is I didn’t see nicely,” she informed the El Tiempo newspaper.

One of many assailants obtained out and “with out a phrase he shot Marcelo twice, one [bullet] hit him within the face and one other within the again”, Aguilera mentioned.

She mentioned her husband of lower than two weeks had not acquired any threats.

The Decameron lodge, the place the couple was staying, mentioned in an announcement that “assassins arrived on the seashore … and attacked and murdered certainly one of our visitors”.

Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview
Colombia’s President Ivan Duque denounced the killing, promising to cooperate with Paraguay ‘to seek out these accountable’ [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

The motive for the killing was not instantly recognized, however Paraguayan prosecutor Augusto Salas, a colleague of Pecci, mentioned the modus operandi was “typical of the [drug] mafia, so that’s what I’ll assume till the opposite is confirmed”.

Colombian police chief Jorge Luis Vargas mentioned 5 murder investigators have been dispatched to Baru, and can obtain backing from Paraguayan and US specialists.

“There’s data being collected … that may assist us establish these accountable,” Vargas mentioned.

Colombian President Ivan Duque “denounced” the killing on Twitter. Duque mentioned he had provided condolences to his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo Benitez and promised “cooperation to seek out these accountable”.

For his half, Benitez mentioned on Twitter: “All the Paraguayan nation mourns the cowardly homicide of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia.

“We condemn this tragic occasion within the strongest phrases, and we redouble our dedication to combating organized crime,” he added.

Pecci’s workplace mentioned in an announcement that steps have been being taken “to supply help and assure the protection of his household”.

Pecci had specialised in organised crime, drug trafficking, cash laundering and the financing of terrorism.

He was concerned in investigations in opposition to Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, held in Paraguay for a number of months in 2020 over a pretend passport scandal.

He additionally led an operation that led to the seizure of dozens of properties acquired by means of cash laundering, and the arrest of some 30 individuals this 12 months.

The US embassy in Paraguay provided its condolences to Pecci’s family members and hailed his “dedication, professionalism and dedication to the battle in opposition to organised crime”.

Paraguay’s ambassador to Colombia, Sophia Lopez, mentioned Pecci was on a “personal” journey and had no work conferences scheduled.

Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer, is contending with a wave of violence regardless of a 2016 peace deal that disarmed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group and ended a close to six-decade civil battle.

Combating over territory and assets continues in elements of the nation between dissident FARC armed fighters, the ELN insurgent group, paramilitary forces and drug cartels.

For its half, landlocked Paraguay – nestled between Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina – has change into an necessary launchpad for medication headed for Europe.

Paraguay and Colombia have lately strengthened their alliance within the battle in opposition to organised and cross-border crime.

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