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Marcelo Pecci: Anti-mafia lawyer shot dead during honeymoon in Colombia – hours after announcing he’s expecting first child

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A lawyer who prosecuted organised crime and drug trafficking was shot dead on the beach during his honeymoon, just hours after announcing he was expecting his first child.

Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci married journalist Claudia Aguilera in April, and the pair were walking along a Colombian beach when they were ambushed.

The Decameron Baru Hotel, where the couple was staying, said the attackers arrived on a jet ski and shot the couple. The gunmen also fired at a security guard, who was unhurt.

Ms Aguilera, who was also unhurt, said one of the men got off the jet ski and “without saying a word shot Marcelo twice, once in the face and once in the back”.

Her most recent Instagram post, uploaded just hours before the attack, depicted a photo of herself and her husband, as well as a pair of baby shoes, with the message: “The best wedding gift… the approaching life that is a testimony to the sweetest love.”

The picture was taken on the Baru peninsula in the Caribbean, south of the Colombian city of Cartagena.

President condemns ‘cowardly murder’

At the time of his death, Mr Pecci, 45, was investigating several high-profile cases, including a shooting at a concert in January where an alleged drug trafficker and footballer’s wife were killed.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez condemned the “cowardly murder” on Twitter.

He vowed to re-double the country’s efforts on organised crime.

The director of Colombia’s national police, General Jorge Luis Vargas, said he had not been aware that Mr Pecci was in Colombia.

He said Mr Pecci was one of the most heavily guarded people in Paraguay since he “investigated cases of international terrorism”.

Paraguay is South America’s largest marijuana producer and growing the plant is still illegal in that country, which means much of the crop is smuggled into Argentina and Brazil.

Attorney General of Paraguay Sandra Quiñonez, right, and another woman pray to a Virgin Mary statue at the entrance of her office after she found out about the killing during his honeymoon in Colombia of Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
PIC:AP
Image:
Attorney General of Paraguay Sandra Quiñonez, right, and another woman pray to a Virgin Mary statue at the entrance of her office

Working to ‘clarify motive’ of murder

Colombia’s foreign minister and vice president, Marta Lucia Ramirez, said authorities were working to clarify “the motives and authors of this heinous crime”.

A “high command” criminal investigation unit had been sent to Cartagena, Colombian defence minister Diego Molano said.

Both Paraguayan and US officials will work within the unit to help identify and prosecute the perpetrators, police said.

A reward of $122,000 (£98,000) is being offered to help identify anyone involved in the shooting.

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