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3 New Arrests Linked to Murder of Amazon Specialist, Journalist

BRASILIA, BRASILIA (AP) — Federal police arrested three more suspects Saturday in a case stemming from the killing of a journalist and an indigenous expert in the remote western reaches of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in June.

According to a police statement, the three were involved in hiding the bodies after the murder. He said they are relatives of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as “Pelado”, a fisherman who is one of three men previously accused of killing the victims..

British journalist Dom Phillips, 57, and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were killed on June 5 in 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 were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murders or the attempted cover-up.

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

In an investigation stemming from the murder case, police also identified a man arrested in early July for allegedly forging documents as Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, known as “The Colombian.” A Colombian national, he was using a Brazilian ID and a Peruvian document, the statement said.

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

In addition to the three people arrested for suspected involvement in hiding the bodies of Philips and Pereira, two other people were arrested as part of an investigation into illegal fishing, police said.

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