The dramatic scene took place on the private beach of a palace, in the middle of tourists and in front of the transparent blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Paraguayan prosecutor specializing in the fight against drug trafficking, Marcelo Pecci, was murdered on Tuesday, May 10, in Colombia by killers landed on a jet-ski on a beach on the Colombian island of Baru where he was spending his moon honey.
Five Colombian investigators have been dispatched to the scene to carry out the investigations with the support of Paraguay and the United States, the Colombian police chief, General Jorge Luis Vargas, announced to the press at the start of the afternoon. , who did not specify the exact circumstances of the assassination.
Mr. Pecci, 45, had married a Colombian journalist, Claudia Aguilera, on April 30 in the city of Cartagena, posting photos of her wedding on her Twitter account. His wife confirmed his death in a short interview with Colombian radio.
“Two men arrived [from the sea] on a boat, they approached and opened fire, before fleeing,” she explained. “A guard wanted to intervene, they also shot him.” Prosecutor Pecci had “received no threats,” she simply added.
The hotel complex where the couple was staying gave further details in a press release, stating that the “murderers arrived by jet-ski on the beach in front of the hotel (…)”.
In the last photo published before the tragedy on the young woman’s Instagram account, the couple was embracing on a beach, with a pair of baby booties in the foreground, suggesting that the newlyweds were expecting a child.
According to Paraguay’s Ambassador to Colombia, Sophia Lopez, “the transfer” of Prosecutor Pecci’s body to her country “will not take place immediately”, due to the necessities of the investigation. The prosecutor was on a “private” trip and had no business meetings scheduled during his stay, the diplomat said, speaking to Colombian media. Late Tuesday afternoon, Colombian police released a photo of one of the alleged murderers, in black Bermuda shorts and his head covered with a beige Panama hat.
On Twitter, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez condemned “the cowardly assassination of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia” which “mourns the entire Paraguayan nation”. “We condemn this tragic act in the strongest terms and redouble our commitment to the fight against organized crime,” the president assured.
“The way [the assassins] acted, the way they executed, is typical of the mafia. I see no other explanation (…),” said the president of the Paraguayan Association of Public Prosecutors, Augusto Salas.
Speaking on Colombian radio, Paraguay’s Attorney General Sandra Quiñonez recalled that her murdered colleague had obtained “significant convictions” in his “eleven years of fighting drug trafficking and transnational crime”. “He just wanted to enjoy his honeymoon, in privacy, and that’s why he had no security” around him. “He was a great friend (…) he had announced to me that his wife was expecting a baby,” Ms. Quiñonez confirmed.
Cooperation between Paraguay and Colombia
A “police commission” from Paraguay will travel to Colombia to assist in the Colombian investigation, Colombian General Jorge Luis Vargas said.
Colombian President Ivan Duque also condemned the assassination via his Twitter account and assured that he was in communication with his counterpart in Paraguay to ensure “all the cooperation [necessary] to find those responsible”.
Mr. Pecci was a prosecutor specializing in organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing. He was known for his involvement in the investigation that led footballer Ronaldinho behind bars between March and August 2020 for entering Paraguay with false documents.
Paraguay and Colombia have strengthened their cooperation against international organized crime in recent years. Despite decades of fighting cartels and drug traffickers, Colombia remains the main producer and exporter of cocaine in the world.