Anti-Mafia Prosecutor Shot Dead on Honeymoon

Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci was killed in Colombia hours after pregnancy announcement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2022 6:24 AM CDT
Anti-Mafia Prosecutor Shot Dead on Honeymoon
Attorney General of Paraguay Sandra Quinonez prays to a Virgin Mary statue at the entrance of her office after she found out about the killing in Colombia of Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

A Paraguayan prosecutor known for fighting against organized crime was shot dead Tuesday while vacationing in Colombia on his honeymoon, hours after his wife posted a pregnancy announcement. "The best wedding gift ... the approaching life that is a testimony to the sweetest love," read the caption of the post showing Marcelo Pecci and wife Claudia Aguilera embracing on a beach with a pair of baby shoes nearby, per AFP. Soon after, two gunmen approached the couple on a private beach on the tourist island of Baru, the BBC reports. "They came in a small boat, or on a jet ski, the truth is I did not see well," Aguilera, a journalist, told El Tiempo newspaper.

One of the men got out and shot Pecci twice "without a word," she added, noting one bullet "hit him in the face and another in the back. The Decameron Hotel, where the couple was staying following their April 30 wedding in Cartagena, said "assassins arrived on the beach ... and attacked and murdered one of our guests," per the BBC. The gunmen also fired at a security guard, who was uninjured, before fleeing by sea, per the AP. Fellow Paraguayan prosecutor Augusto Salas told the AFP that the attack seemed "typical of the [drug] mafia, so that is what I will think until the contrary is proven." Colombian Police Chief Jorge Luis Vargas offered a $122,000 reward for information, adding five homicide investigators will work with Paraguayan and US experts on the case, per AFP and Reuters.

Colombian President Ivan Duque vowed "cooperation to find those responsible" while Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez called it a "cowardly murder" that "saddens all of the Paraguayan nation." Pecci specialized in investigating organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. He was involved in the investigation of Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, who unknowingly tried to enter Paraguay with a fake passport in 2020, and the probe into the killing of a regional governor's daughter in 2021. He also "led an operation that led to the seizure of dozens of properties acquired through money laundering, and the arrest of some 30 people this year," per AFP. (More murder stories.)

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