Colombia arrests five in probe of Paraguay prosecutor's murder

·2-min read

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Five people have been arrested in Colombia for alleged involvement in the murder last month of a Paraguayan prosecutor known for fighting organized crime, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Friday.

Prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, 45, was shot dead on the island of Baru near the Caribbean city of Cartagena on May 10, while on his honeymoon with his wife.

Colombian police said soon after the murder that Pecci's killing was likely related to his prosecutions in Paraguay, which often focused on high-stakes anti-money laundering and anti-drug cases.

"We have captured all of those presumed to be involved, including the material author of the murder of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci," Duque, who is on a visit to the United States, said in a video message. "This is an intelligence operation, meticulous work which has allowed us to reach this criminal structure."

More details of the arrests will be shared once those apprehended have appeared before a judge, Duque added.

The five accused people were arrested in Medellin, Attorney General Francisco Barbosa said in a separate video, adding the captures were the result of coordinated work between authorities in Colombia and Paraguay.

Pecci and his wife, Paraguayan journalist Claudia Aguilera, announced her pregnancy on Instagram shortly before the couple was approached by two men on a private beach near their hotel. She told authorities one of the men later shot Pecci.

"We are grateful for the commitment of the Colombian state," Paraguayan President Mario Abdo said in a post on Twitter. "The investigation into the tragic death of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, in which police and prosecutors from both countries have cooperated seeking justice, advances with the capture of those suspected of his murder."

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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