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The investigation indicates that someone followed Marcelo Pecci from Paraguay during his honeymoon

Archive photo of the prosecutor specializing in organized crime, Marcelo Pecci, murdered in Colombia.
Archive photo of the prosecutor specializing in organized crime, Marcelo Pecci, murdered in Colombia.JORGE ADORNO (REUTERS)

While the remains of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci return to his native Paraguay this Friday, investigations into his murder, which occurred on Tuesday, May 10, on Barú beach, 45 minutes from Cartagena, continue in both countries and in the United States. The hypotheses about the material and intellectual authors continue to be extensive, but they are all related to his work as an anti-drug prosecutor and specialized in organized crime. One of them suggests that they would have followed him from the southern country, according to the Paraguayan interior minister, Federico González. “There are several lines of research, there are advances that we cannot point to, but we are on the right track,” he told Radius Snail. What does seem ruled out is that the assassin was Colombian.

The search for the gunmen who traveled on a motoski to commit the murder has led the authorities to analyze “migratory movements of the previous and subsequent flights from Paraguay”, as well as to verify the list of people who were in the hotels and places where Pecci was with his wife, Claudia Aguilera, who is expecting a baby. Several Paraguayan travelers were interviewed by Colombian authorities but not captured.

Five days after the event, it is known that the man who fired the weapon is not of Colombian nationality, is 1.74 meters tall and has a Caribbean accent, as stated by the director of the Colombian Police, General Jorge Vargas. Also, that he, together with the other hitman, rented the jet ski for 200,000 pesos for 30 minutes, but they used it between 7 and 13 minutes.

“They bordered the beach to the place, they went down, they executed, they came back, they went to a parking lot that was behind the motoski place and they went through an internal (land) route,” Manuel Doldán, prosecutor for International Affairs, told Radio Monumental de Paraguay. Doldán, who was also a friend of Pecci, explained that the assassins did not escape by sea, but instead took a road that leads to Cartagena. Pecci was shot three times with a nine-millimeter pistol.

After publishing a photo and a spoken portrait of the hitman, the authorities have received calls and more photographs, not only from Cartagena but from other cities in the country. Some of that information has been incorporated into the process and some has been discarded. There are 26 checkpoints installed at strategic points in Cartagena, with 250 police officers, and field investigations have been carried out in 102 hotels and hostels in the city.

masterminds

The Colombian Police have assured that it was an operation with “high planning” and that it involved an investment of economic resources, so they do not rule out the participation of any of the criminal organizations that had been the subject of Pecci’s investigations. “Two of the main investigations carried out by prosecutor Pecci in Latin America were against the so-called First Capital Command (PCC) and the structure known as Point 50, in the south of the continent,” Vargas said, although he explained that at the moment it is unknown if they were related.

Other versions published in local media point to the participation of three men who would be part of a Hezbollah structure. In 2019, Pecci handed over to DEA agents the Lebanese Nader Mohamad Farhat, requested in extradition by the Court of the Southern District of Florida for money laundering. Mahmoud Ali Barakat (extradited in 2018) and Kassed Mohamad Hijazi, a Brazilian citizen of Lebanese origin, are under investigation in the same case.

Regarding that version, the prosecutor assured that, although they are evaluating several cases linked to money laundering of significant magnitude, it cannot be said for now that the case is related to that terrorist group. Doldán, however, acknowledged that Pecci acted in the case of a Lebanese citizen who is detained in Paraguay. The murdered prosecutor had also investigated the Ultranza A Py Operation, in which he led 12 raids and seizures of planes, boats and other assets that served criminal groups to launder money.

The reward of up to 2,000 million Colombian pesos (500,000 dollars) for information on the assassins remains.

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