A Ultranza Py, the last operation led by Marcelo Pecci, Paraguayan prosecutor murdered in Barú

After the murder of Marcelo Pecci, all the eyes of the authorities are on who could be his executioners. The most obvious: the criminals that for years he managed to persecute and imprison. In that universe of cases, which were many, since it was a star official with multiple victories against the mafias, one in particular stands out: Kassem Mohamad Hijazi. The Brazilian of Lebanese origin is one of those investigated for the crime.

The newspaper The nation from Paraguay has put it on its front pages. The newspaper recalls that “Marcelo Pecci led last year the arrest procedure of one of the men most required by American justice, accused of managing a network of money laundering from illicit acts based in Ciudad del Este”.

Kassem Mohammad Hijazi
Kassem Mohamad Hijazi Photo National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay – Photo: National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay

The prosecutor worked hard on that file and, in August of last year, managed to capture this Brazilian, of Lebanese origin, who had the country in check by leading a powerful dollar laundering network. For more than two decades, the Paraguayan justice system had tracked him down. And the United States had asked for his extradition.

CNN reported details of that operation at the time. He told how he developed impeccably in Ciudad del Este, which is part of the so-called Triple Frontier, made up of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Prosecutor Pecci, in dialogue with that chain, said: “The detainee is an objective of high strategic value for the United States, that is why international cooperation actions are being combined.”

The criminal profile of the captured was, as prosecutor Pecci said, of “high value.” As told at the time The nation, The United States Department of the Treasury had him in its sights because he had allegedly created a network of “import and export companies to move goods from the United States through ports in Paraguay and sell them in the country. The profits were then transferred through exchange houses and banks in Ciudad del Este to the United States, China and Hong Kong, among other cities in the world.

Kassem Mohammad Hijazi
Kassem Mohamad Hijazi Photo National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay – Photo: National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay

On April 12, his extradition had been ordered. “Currently, the file is in the Specialized Court against Crime and it is in the midst of this decisive instance that the murder of prosecutor Pecci took place, days spent on a beach in Cartagena,” the newspaper concluded.

The Colombian authorities have no doubt that the murder was carried out on behalf of Pecci’s work. Deputy Prosecutor Mancera assured that due to the way the crime occurred, some jet skis that arrive at the private beach where the prosecutor enjoyed his honeymoon, it could be ruled out that it is a crime resulting from the insecurity of Cartagena.

The senior official explained that an international network is currently being investigated after the prosecutor’s death. “What is the criminal organization, what are the transnational links, that is, this is not an investigation that is translated into activities in Colombia, no, it is transnational. We joined two judicial police with the same objective, “she said at a press conference.

The director of the Police, General Jorge Vargas, also points to that thesis. In his statements, he has said that this was not a plan that was developed overnight. On the contrary, he says that it is evident that there was an articulation and a complex planning to carry it out. “We are not talking here about a common homicide as the Penal Code says. Behind this there are crime mafias”, the general told the director of WEEKVicki Davila.

Kassem Mohammad Hijazi
Kassem Mohamad Hijazi Photo National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay – Photo: National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Paraguay

“We are talking about a system of transnational crime, I do not want to make comparisons out of place; this was a high level of planning, probably an important investment of resources to achieve that assassination. We are going to unveil this system of transnational crime, we are in an articulated work, we applied the same thing in the Cúcuta attacks, reserve is needed, but the results will be seen, ”he added.

Al Ultranza Py, the other point that could explain the crime

An operational complex called Al Ultranza Py is also the subject of huge investigations. This is another of the successes of prosecutor Pecci, who at the beginning of the year managed to capture Miguel Ángel Insfrán, alias Tío Rico, and his brother, José Insfrán, who acted as a shepherd and who led one of the strongest drug trafficking clans in Paraguay.

The operation was carried out by the Public Ministry, the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Senad) in coordination with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), the European Union Police (Europol) and the General Directorate of Repression of Illicit Drug Trafficking (DGRTID) of the Uruguayan police.

During the operation, it was also possible to capture at least 25 people, as well as carry out 12 raids, in which real estate was seized, 20 vehicles, nine planes, boats and other assets belonging to organized crime gangs, explained the newspaper The nation from Paraguay.

In total, the operation meant losses of up to 250,000 million dollars for Paraguayan drug traffickers.

The seized assets were used by Paraguayan drug traffickers to send the drug from Colombia to Europe and, in addition, had a key step in Paraguay.

After this operation, a series of murders were presented that were key to unmasking other criminals. One of them was the death of Fátima Rejala, who worked as a cook for one of the Insfrán brothers, and who was ordered to be killed by members of the clan themselves for allegedly collaborating with the police.

This led the prosecutor to unmask various allies of the Insfrán brothers, including some alleged Colombian religious, who visited the church of José Insfrán and arrived in luxurious aircraft, according to the Paraguayan press. All these files are today the object of investigations to determine who is behind the macabre crime of prosecutor Pecci.

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