Who was Marcelo Pecci, the Paraguayan anti-crime prosecutor who was killed in Colombia on his honeymoon
The murder on Tuesday, on a beach located in northern Colombia, of Marcelo Pecci, prosecutor against organized crime in Paraguay, has shocked society in both countries.
The death of the judicial official at the hands of hitmen was confirmed by the president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, who condemned the crime in a message on his Twitter account.
“The cowardly murder of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia mourns the entire Paraguayan Nation. We condemn this tragic event in the strongest terms and redouble our commitment to fight organized crime,” he wrote.
The cowardly murder of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia mourns the entire Paraguayan Nation.
We condemn this tragic event in the strongest terms and redouble our commitment to fight against organized crime.
Our sincere condolences to their families.
– Marito Abdo (@MaritoAbdo) May 10, 2022
The attack against Pecci occurred on the island of Barú, located about 40 minutes by boat from the city of Cartagena de Indias. According to the version of local Colombian media, two men who came by sea to the beach, approached the prosecutor, who was resting next to his wife, and fired two shots at him that caused his death.
Pecci, 45, was a specialized prosecutor against the Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.
He had married the Paraguayan journalist Claudia Aguilera on April 30 and now they were on their honeymoon on the Colombian Caribbean coast. Just this year they had announced their oviazgo and subsequent engagement.
Aguilera reported that around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a man got off the boat and shot her husband twice, “one in the head and one in the back”.
“We were helped by other people who were on the beach, but he was dead,” he told the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.
A few hours before the attack, Aguilera had announced through her social networks that they were both expecting their first child.
He added that they felt calm on their trip, that they had no escorts. “We had no threats,” he noted.
The prosecutor specialized in Organized Crime
The local press also reported that the official was part of a operation called “Ultranza”directed against drug trafficking and money laundering, and was involved in the investigation of an attack that occurred in January during a concert in Paraguay.
Pecci’s career in the Public Ministry began in 2000, when he joined as an assistant, according to local media. It was from 2009 when he began his work as a prosecutor.
He also participated in the recent past in the investigation into the murder of the daughter of a regional governor, as well as in the case of former Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho, when he was arrested while trying to enter Paraguay with an adulterated passport in 2020.
Sources from the Paraguayan embassy in Colombia told Agencia EFE that were informed about the event that is still under investigation and that they remain in contact with the Colombian National Police, which is carrying out the investigations.
The director of the National Police of Colombia, General Jorge Luis Vargas, told the press that the authorities are already carrying out urgent and confidential steps that, according to what he stated, “will help identify those responsible for this unfortunate event.”
The Paraguayan Police also sent a delegation to Colombia that will join the investigation.
Mario Abdo Benítez reported that he had communicated with his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, as well as with the United States government, and that they offered their support to investigate what happened.
For her part, prosecutor Belinda Bobadilla, vice president of the Association of Prosecutors of Paraguay, lamented what happened with her colleague in Colombia and took the opportunity to criticize the lack of a security budget for judicial officials in her country.
“We can’t believe the nightmare that we always had present that one day That could happen, we are palpably seeing that it finally happened,” he told local radio station Universo 970AM.
According to Bobadilla, many judges and prosecutors do not have the resources to fully protect themselves and their families: “They even don’t even have enough for a bulletproof vest,” he said.
Pecci was a great soccer fan, specifically he was a fan of the Guaraní Club of Paraguay, as well as an aviation lover.
The Association of Former Students of Colegio San José, the center where Pecci studied, issued a statement through its Instagram account where it states “deep regret for the cowardly attack” of the prosecutor, of whom they point out that “bravery and courage adorned his life.”
“Paraguay has lost a great man who could row against the current in an environment contaminated by corruption and where day after day the virtues are diluted by the action of money and threats”, reads the letter.
Now you can receive notifications from BBC News World. Download the new version of our app and activate it so you don’t miss out on our best content.