3 New Arrests Linked To Slaying Of Amazon Expert, Journalist

BRASILIA, BRAZIL (AP) — Federal Police arrested three more suspects Saturday in a case arising from the slaying of a journalist and an Indigenous expert in the remote western reaches of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in June.

A police statement alleges the three were involved in the hiding of the bodies after the killing. It said they are relatives of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as “Pelado,” a fisherman who is one of three men previously charged with murdering the victims.

British journalist Dom Phillips, 57, and Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were killed June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai river, near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

A total of seven people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the killings or the attempted coverup.

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

In an investigation that has grown out of the murder case, police also identified a man arrested in early July for allegedly carrying false documents as Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, known as the “Colombian.” A Colombian citizen, he was using a Brazilian identity card and also 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 region of Vale do Javari, which was responsible for commercializing a large amount of fish that was 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 in the investigation of illegal fishing, police said.