Story By: Alex Cope, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A sergeant in the firefighters has been arrested in Brazil on suspicion of being involved in the murder of activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco.
Maxwell Simoes Correa, 44, known as Suel, was arrested at his luxury home in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes area in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the southeastern Brazilian state of the same name.
Correa is suspected of having obstructed the investigation into Franco’s death and of having helped hide the weapons used in her murder in 2018.
The Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro said in a statement that Correa “deliberately obstructed” the investigation and investigator Daniel Rosa said he was “extremely close, in both his life of crime and social life” with Ronnie Lessa, the main suspect in the murder.
The ministry’s statement went on: “Maxwell’s role to obstruct the investigation was to provide the vehicle used to store the vast, warlike arsenal belonging to Ronnie between 13th and 14th March 2019, so that the arms could later be discarded on the high seas”.
Investigators say four people, who have now been arrested, threw the arms into the sea in the Barra de Tijuca area of Rio de Janeiro the day after Ronnie Lessa and fellow suspect Elcio de Queiroz, said to be the driver of the car in the drive-by shooting, were arrested.
Lessa is a retired Military Police officer while Queiroz had formerly worked in the same institution.
Correa reportedly dealt in buying and selling imported cars as well as working in the firefighters and arresting officers found a BMW X6 at his residence.
Franco was killed on 14th March 2018 as she was being driven home from giving a speech in Rio de Janeiro. She and her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes were both killed when two men fired shots at their vehicle.
Franco, who was openly bisexual, was a city councillor for the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and was an outspoken activist on police brutality, racism and sexism.
Her death sparked protests across Brazil and she has become a symbol for those fighting police corruption in Brazil.
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