US offers $5m for information on Paraguayan prosecutor’s killers

US State Department seeks information leading to arrest or conviction of those involved in Marcelo Pecci assassination.

Marcelo Pecci speaks during a news conference in Paraguay
Paraguayan anti-drug prosecutor Marcelo Pecci was assassinated during his honeymoon in May [File: Daniel Duarte/AFP]

The United States has offered a $5m reward for information on anyone involved in the murder of Marcelo Pecci, a Paraguayan organised crime prosecutor who was killed on his honeymoon in Colombia earlier this year.

In a statement on Thursday, the US Department of State said it was looking for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any co-conspirators, “including those responsible for financing and ordering the assassination”.

Pecci was fatally shot while relaxing on a beach on Colombia’s tourist island of Baru on May 10, just days after his wedding, in what Paraguay’s president denounced at the time as a “cowardly murder”.

The Colombian authorities have identified six co-conspirators in the killing and five have been arrested, the Department of State said, adding that Thursday’s reward aimed to find anyone else who may have been involved.

The announcement comes five months after a Colombian judge sentenced four of those involved in the killing to 23 years in prison, with a fifth awaiting trial.

Pecci’s assailants arrived and fled by sea, shooting him twice as he was at the beach.

The 45-year-old had specialised in organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and the “financing of terrorism”.

He also was at the helm of an operation that led to the seizure of dozens of properties acquired through money laundering, and the arrest of approximately 30 people earlier this year.

The US ambassador in Asuncion, Marc Ostfield, told reporters on Thursday that “the assassination of prosecutor Pecci was a direct attack on the rule of law in Paraguay”.

“The United States stands with the Paraguayan people and against those who seek to harm those who heroically work in public service,” Ostfield said.

The Department of State has paid out more than $155m as part of two rewards programme targeting transnational crime and narcotics, respectively.

The department said the programmes have resulted in the apprehension of more than 75 “transnational criminals and major narcotics traffickers” since the NRP was founded in 1986.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters