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Montevideo, October 1st 2023 - 04:28 UTC



Killers of Paraguayan prosecutor convicted in Colombia

Monday, June 20th 2022 - 08:41 UTC
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The perpetrators agreed to a plea bargain which will make them eligible for parole in 10 years The perpetrators agreed to a plea bargain which will make them eligible for parole in 10 years

The killers of Paraguayan Organized Crime Prosecutor Marcelo Pecci have been sentenced to 23 years and a half in jail late on Friday after a plea bargain with Colombian state attorneys, it was announced.

Four out of five people under arrest have confessed to their crimes and apologized to the victim's family and accepted their conviction for “aggravated homicide and trafficking, manufacture or carrying of firearms,” it was announced in a statement.

Pecci, 45, a Paraguayan prosecutor specializing in drug trafficking and money laundering, was shot while honeymooning in the island of Baru, near Cartagena. At the time of the murder, he was with his wife, journalist Claudia Aguilera who was not targeted by the hitmen, who arrived on a jet ski. They were reportedly paid around US$ 530,000 by people who have not even been identified by Colombian authorities.

Wendre Still Scott Carrillo, who was the shooter; Eiverson Adrián Arrieta Zabaleta, in charge of logistics; and Marisol Londoño Bedoya and her son Cristian Camilo, responsible for following the couple's steps, will serve sentences for the crime.

Scott Carrillo is a Venezuelan national while all the others are Colombian. The fifth detainee, Francisco Luis Correa Galeano, considered to be the mastermind of the crime, pleaded not guilty.

The Colombian prosecutors reconstructed the murder from security camera footage, where Pecci and his wife can be seen sunbathing when the assassins appeared. Gabriel Carlos Luis Salinas Mendoza, also of Venezuelan nationality, is still at large. He has been identified by the Colombian authorities as the one riding the jet ski that took the gunman to the private beach.

The killers were to be sentenced to 47 years in prison, but received a reduction for confessing to the crimes and collaborating in the investigation.

Pecci had investigated Brazilian gangs, as well as Lebanese money launderers from the Triple Border of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. He was also in charge of high-profile cases such as the 2005 kidnapping and murder of the daughter of former President Raul Cubas (1998-1999), and the 2020 prosecution of soccer star Ronaldinho, arrested in Asuncion for document forgery.

Pecci's family had requested the maximum penalty be applied. His brother Francisco also explained the family would not seek economic reparation for the crime, while their father, also named Francisco, a former Paraguayan judge, said the authorities needed to get to those intellectually responsible for the murder. “It would be good” that Paraguay's Judiciary handled this investigation. “This wound will never be closed for us, the relatives,” he added. “Is it going to be possible to defeat this powerful criminal organization in this region?,” he went on.

According to a Colombian expert on judiciary matters, despite the 23-year sentence, the perpetrators could be released on parole in 10 years, after having served 3/5 of their penalty.

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