Brazil arrests five more in Amazon double murder
Published: Aug 07, 2022 10:05 PM
Police in Brazil said they ­arrested five new suspects on Saturday in the murder of a British journalist and a Brazilian indigenous expert in the Amazon, accusing all nine people detained so far of involvement in an illegal fishing ring.

Federal police said the ongoing investigation of the June killing of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira had uncovered "strong indications" that one of the four suspects already detained, an alleged drug trafficker known as "Colombia," was the "leader and financial backer of an armed criminal group dedicated to illegal fishing in the Javari Valley region."

Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, were shot dead on June 5 at the edge of the Javari Valley, a sprawling expanse of remote jungle on Brazil's borders with Peru and Colombia that has seen a surge of illegal fishing, logging, mining and drug trafficking.

Pereira had been working to stop illegal fishing on the Javari Valley indigenous reservation.

Phillips, a freelance journalist for The Guardian, The New York Times and other leading newspapers, was traveling with him to research a book he was writing titled How to Save the Amazon.

Native leaders who worked with Pereira accuse "Colombia" of ordering him killed as payback for having organized indigenous patrols that had seized lucrative hauls of illegally caught fish.

Police said the alleged drug trafficker led a group "responsible for selling large amounts of fish for export to neighboring countries."

The five new detainees include three relatives of the first man arrested in the case. The five are suspected of helping him hide the bodies in the bush, police said.