Unknown hitmen assassinated a Paraguayan anti-mafia prosecutor when he and his new wife were on their honeymoon in Colombia.
The assassins arrived on a jet ski, one of whom leaped off and approached Marcelo Pecci, 45, prosecutor of organized crime and drug trafficking cases, shooting him in the face and back. Pecci’s wife, journalist Claudia Aguilera, had shared a photo of the couple clutching a pair of baby shoes on Instagram just hours before the assassination, hinting that they were expecting.
Pecci’s death is likely linked “to his work against organized crime in Paraguay,” according to Colombian Deputy Prosecutor Martha Mancera. President Mario Abdo Bentez stated he “strongly condemns this horrible event” and pledged to “increase our commitment to combating organized crime.”
Pecci was well-known for his work on high-profile investigations into drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. He was one of the prosecutors participating in the A Ultranza Py operation, which dealt Paraguay’s largest blow against cocaine trafficking and money laundering.
According to local media, the operation sparked a scandal that caused President Benitez to fire two of his top ministers. Drug traffickers who used Paraguay to transport tonnes of cocaine from Colombia and Bolivia to Europe lost more than $100 million.
Pecci was in charge of several investigations into the notorious Brazilian prison gang Primeiro Comando da Capital, or First Command of Capital, including the assassination of Brazilian journalist Lourenço Veras, who covered police operations and organized crime along the Brazil-Paraguay border.
Paraguayan security authorities have been working on Pecci’s murder with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Interpol, and FBI since last Tuesday. The Colombian government has released surveillance camera photographs of a suspected offender and is offering a reward of US$500,000 for information leading to the killer.
The assassination came after Dario Antonio Suga David, also known as Otoniel, was extradited to the United States, prompting revenge attacks that claimed dozens of lives and caused authorities to impose curfews in more than 100 Colombian communities.
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