Brazilian police arrest 5 more people in murder of British journalist in Amazon

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – People attend a memorial service for indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips, who were murdered in the Amazon, in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 16, 2022. REUTERS/Suamy Beydoun NO RESALES. NO STOCK

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian federal police on Saturday arrested five more men in their investigation into the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon rainforest (NASDAQ: ) in June.

Police said in a statement that seven arrest warrants had been issued for illegal fishing in the Vale do Javari region, a remote area near the borders with Colombia and Peru where Phillips and Pereira went missing on May 5. /6.

The area has been invaded by illegal fishermen, loggers and gold miners. Police say this is a key drug-trafficking route.

Phillips, a freelance reporter writing for the Guardian and the Washington Post, is researching for a book about a trip with Pereira, a former leader of isolated tribes and recently linked to the agency in charge of public affairs. Indigenous theme of the Federation of Funai.

Two of the seven suspects were arrested: Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, known as “Colombia”, and fisherman Amarildo Costa de Oliveira, known as “Pelado”, who was arrested in June as a fisherman. the main suspect in the murder.

According to police, Colombia will be the leader and financier of an armed criminal gang involved in illegal fishing being smuggled into neighboring countries.

Three of the newly arrested men, whose names were not released, are relatives of Amarildo and were involved in the concealment of Phillips and Pereira’s bodies, police said.

Pereira, a former senior official with the federal Indigenous agency Funai, had previously clashed with Amarildo over illegal fishing in the native territory.

Federal prosecutors say Phillips was killed so that the killers could not be identified.

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