A good seven months after the murder of the British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, the Brazilian federal police have "with great probability" identified a client.
The suspected mastermind is suspected of leading a criminal organization involved in illegal fishing in the Vale do Javari region, Amazonas state police said. Charges are to be brought against him.
He is said to have ordered the killings in the Amazon because of Pereira's control and surveillance of illegal fishing. Prosecutors had already indicted several suspects in July.
Phillips and Pereira went missing on June 5 while traveling to the Javari Valley in western Brazil. Almost two weeks later, the federal police announced that her remains had been identified. According to the Attorney General, Pereira was killed with three shots. Phillips was only killed because he was there. So the previous crime should be covered up. As a motive, the public prosecutor said that Pereira asked Phillips to photograph the defendants' boat. Pereira had already had a conflict with one of them because of illegal fishing in indigenous areas.
The Brazilian border area with Peru and Colombia is particularly dangerous due to illegal prospecting for gold, deforestation, fishing and hunting, and drug smuggling. Pereira had documented illegal activities in the Javari Valley for the authorities. He had reported to the police that he had been threatened several times. Phillips was researching a book on Amazon conservation.