BOGOTA (Reuters) – The murder of a Paraguayan prosecutor known for fighting organized crime was likely the victim of “transnational” criminals working across borders, the head of Colombia’s police said Wednesday, as both countries pledged to probe the high-profile hit.
Prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, 45, was shot dead on the island of Baru near the Caribbean city of Cartagena on Tuesday while on his honeymoon with his wife.
Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, head of Colombia’s national police, told reporters the “big hypothesis” is 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’re talking about a transnational crime system, highly planned, in which it’s probable that a large amount of money was spent to carry out the murder,” said Vargas, noting that a reward equivalent to nearly $500,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case has been offered.
Vargas added that police have images of the main suspect, but he would not confirm rumors that non-Colombians may have also been involved.
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.
A senior official with Paraguay’s national police, Nimio Cardozo, arrived in Colombia’s capital to assist the investigation, along with U.S. drug and other federal agents.
Appearing at the same news conference, Cardozo stressed that only a few people knew of Pecci’s planned vacation.
“We will not stop until we have caught those responsible, materially and intellectually, for this despicable act,” he said.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Richard Chang)