The assassination of a top Paraguayan prosecutor while on vacation in Colombia last week has raised major concerns about the strength and influence of organized criminal groups in the country, one of the world’s top marijuana producers and a key transit point for Andean cocaine.
Marcelo Pecci, an organized crime specialist, was shot dead on May 10 on the island of Baru, south of the Colombian city of Cartagena. Pecci was on honeymoon with his pregnant wife when two assailants arrived on jet skis and gunned him down. He died on the spot from three wounds to his face and torso.
Pecci had not received any death threats, according to his wife, but he had been involved in some high-profile cases, including dozens of raids launched this past March that were part of the country’s biggest ever counter narcotics operation, A Ultranza PY, or “At All Costs Paraguay.” Over $100 million of assets were seized, including private jets, sports cars and yachts, while 24 people were charged with crimes of drug trafficking, criminal association and money laundering. The operation concluded a 27-month investigation by authorities in the U.S., Europe, Paraguay and Uruguay.