3 new arrests linked to the murder of an Amazon expert, journalist


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BRASILIA, BRAZIL — Federal police on Saturday arrested three more suspects in a case linked to the murder of a journalist and an indigenous expert in the remote western regions of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in June.

A police statement alleges the three men were involved in hiding the bodies after the murder. He said they were relatives of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as “Pelado”, a fisherman who is one of three men previously charged with murdering the victims.

British journalist Dom Phillips, 57, and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were killed on June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai River, near the entrance to the Javari Valley indigenous territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

A total of seven people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the murders or the attempted cover-up.

Prosecutors said the three men charged with murder in the case were fishermen who killed Phlips and Pereira because the couple asked to photograph the suspects. The area is a hotspot for illegal fishing and poaching.

In an investigation that stemmed from the murder case, police also identified a man arrested in early July for allegedly carrying false documents as Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, known as the “Colombian”. Of Colombian nationality, he used a Brazilian identity card as well as a Peruvian document, the statement said.

The statement describes him as “the leader and financier of an armed criminal association dedicated to the practice of illegal fishing in the Vale do Javari region, which was responsible for the commercialization of a large quantity of fish that was exported to neighboring countries “.

Along with the three people arrested for alleged involvement in the concealment of the bodies of Philips and Pereira, two other people have been arrested in connection with the illegal fishing investigation, police said.

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