Venezuelan police authorities confirmed the capture in Caracas of Gabriel Salinas Mendoza, one of the hit men involved in the murder of Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci last March. The lawyer was at that time in the Baru peninsula, in Cartagena de Indias, on the Colombian Caribbean coast. Salinas Mendoza, one of the few involved in prosecutor Pecci’s crime who had not been arrested, was, according to the investigation, the driver of the jet ski that came to the beach to carry out the attack. At that time, Pecci was spending the last day of his honeymoon with his wife, the journalist Claudia Aguilera.
Salinas Mendoza was detained by municipal police in Chacao, a commercial and hotel municipality in eastern Caracas, not far from the busy Sambil Shopping Center, the largest in the city. The Government of Colombia had issued an international arrest alert to another 190 countries through Interpol while it was activating the investigations to arrest Salinas. Colombian police estimate that the hit man left Colombia for Venezuela at the end of that month.
The other five arrests for this crime, carried out on June 6, were made in Colombia. The defendants are Wendre Carrillo, Eiverson Zabaleta, Marisol Londono, Cristian Camilo Monsalve Londono and Francisco Luis Correa, whom the Prosecutor’s Office considers to be the mastermind of the murder. The first four defendants have already received sentences of 23 years in prison for the crime.
Salinas Mendoza, who had already received the promised money for his criminal work, will not be extradited to Colombia. according to the first investigations. He will be tried in Venezuela, since the laws of this country so stipulate. Colombian police had offered up to 500 million pesos (about $105,000) for information on the whereabouts of the defendant. From Colombia it was reported that the charges against Salinas Mendoza for the crimes of aggravated homicide, arms trafficking and ammunition trafficking were presented to Venezuela.
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