Fireman implicated in murder of Brazilian councilwoman arrested
Ex-military police reveal sordid details behind 2018 hit leading to arrests
By Jorge Antonio Rocha
MEXICO CITY (AA) - Brazilian federal police arrested the former firefighter Maxwell Simoes Correa on Monday for his involvement in the double murder of Councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes in 2018.
The arrest followed a plea agreement between the federal police and former military policeman Élcio de Queiroz, arrested since 2019 as a suspect of Franco's murder, who confirmed the involvement of Correa and Ronnie Lessa, an ex-military policeman, and the alleged shooter.
Since his arrest in 2019, Queiroz has been singled out as the alleged getaway driver of the car used in Franco's assassination.
Following the plea bargain, Queiroz shared that others were involved in the double murder. However, details of further suspects will be withheld during the investigation. At a press conference, Justice Minister Flavio Dino said the agreement with Queiroz prevents the disclosure of further information.
"It is very sensitive. It's about other people, it's about notoriously dangerous people, and, for that very reason, the Judiciary, rightly in our view, broke the secrecy of a small part of the indictment, but the majority of the accusation will remain confidential until the conclusion of these operations," said Dino.
As reported by the Brazilian news outlet Globo, Queiroz, Lessa, and Correa allegedly took part in a failed assassination attempt against Franco between 2017 and 2018, three months before her murder. According to the testimony given by Queiroz, the military police officers had been tailing Franco for months.
Queiroz's statement on Monday confirms that Lessa fired 13 times at Franco and his driver on March 14, 2018, killing them both on the spot. While Correa had been surveilling Franco and participated in outlining the ambush.
Correa's arrest was made as part of Operation Elpis, the first operation of 2023 related to the Franco murder investigation.
Franco was a human rights defender active in the black and LGBTQ community.
The masterminds behind the attack and the motive for the assassination are still unknown.
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