Paraguay is gripped by a high profile murder of one of the country’s most famous prosecutors. Marcelo Pecci, 45, was shot dead by two gunmen during his honeymoon in Colombia on Monday, a few hours after his wife announced on Instagram that the two are expecting a baby.
Known and feared for his protracted fight against organized crime, Pecci was on a honeymoon with his wife on the idyllic tourist island of Baru, near the northern city of Cartagena. Pecci’s wife, journalist Claudia Aguilera, says they were approached by two unknown men while they were sunbathing on a private beach.
“They came in a small boat or on a jet ski, I was not able to see that well,” she recalls in conversation with the Colombian newspaper. El Tiempo† ,,One of the attackers got out and without a word he fired two bullets at Marcelo. One bullet hit him in the face, the other went right through his back.” Only Pecci was hit, his wife and guards were unharmed.
The couple, who married at the end of April, had not received any threats prior to the trip, his wife said. The Decameron Hotel, where the couple stayed, said in a statement that “killers arrived on the beach and attacked and killed one of our guests.”
In recent years, 45-year-old Marcelo Pecci has become a well-known figure in Paraguay for his fight against organized crime. He specialized primarily in drug crime and led numerous major cases, including the murder of a governor’s daughter. He also headed the so-called Operativo A Ultranza PY, the largest drug smuggling investigation in Paraguay ever. In 2020, he was still working on a high-profile case against Brazilian top footballer Ronaldinho, who tried to enter the country with a fake Paraguayan passport.
The murder of Pecci is a major blow to Paraguay, which has been plagued by organized crime at the hands of the mafia and other powerful organizations for years. In the spring of 2020, at least 75 inmates, including members of the powerful Brazilian criminal organization PCC, managed to escape from a Paraguayan prison in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero. Among the prisoners were serious criminals. The PCC controls the drug trade in São Paulo and in recent years expanded its presence to other countries, including Paraguay.
‘Marcelo was an example’
Justice suspects that the murder of Pecci must be sought in the corner of the mafia. “This murder seems typical to me for the mafia, so that’s what I will think until proven otherwise,” prosecutor Augusto Salas told news agency. AFP† Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez calls it a “cowardly murder that makes the whole country sad.” “We condemn in the strongest terms this tragic event and redouble our commitment to the fight against organized crime.” The US embassy in Paraguay also extends its condolences to the bereaved families and praises Pecci for his “commitment, professionalism and dedication to the fight against organized crime”.
An international anti-drugs organization, made up of prosecutors from some 20 countries, reports that Pecci was “an exceptional prosecutor who was dedicated to his work.” He would ‘be at the service of society and contributed in his own way to a safer world’. Marcelo was an example to everyone and now he leaves us with a huge emptiness and heartbreak. Network of Anti-Drug Prosecutors of Ibero-America†
The head of the Colombian police and detectives from Paraguay have traveled to the scene of the murder, according to the BBC† United States officials will assist in the investigation, according to the British broadcaster.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.