By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, May 30th, Rio’s Civil Police announced it had apprehended 33-year-old Thiago Macaco in connection with the April 8th murder of Carlos Alexandre Pereira. Macaco was arrested in a shopping mall in Del Norte, Brazil on Tuesday (May 29th) afternoon.
According to Rio Civil Police officials, Macaco was the main perpetrator behind the death of Carlos Alexandre Pereira, who was gunned down in the neighborhood of Boiúna, in Jacarepaguá, in Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone).
Pereira had been an aide to councilman Marcello Siciliano and his murder came just days after Siciliano spoke to investigators regarding the March 14th murders of councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes.
While Macaco was arrested for his connection to Pereira’s murder, Globo news revealed that the 33-year-old had also been identified by a key witness in the Franco investigation as one of the conspirators in the Franco and Gomes murders.
According to Globo, witness testimony from a former militia member linked Macaco to Orlando de Curicica, head of the Boiúna militia and currently serving time behind bars.
The testimony alleges that Macaco was responsible for providing the cloned license plate of the silver Cobalt driven by the perpetrators on the night of the assasination. The car used in the Franco and Gomes murders had a cloned license plate from Nova Iguaçu. To date, police have been unable to locate the silver Cobalt.
Julia Michaels, an American expatriate, author and the journalist behind Rio Real Blog lives in Rio and shared her reaction to the arrest. “I was very happy and I hope to see more arrests, soon.”
Adding, “It will lead to justice, in the sense that the murders were attempting to shut down the work of people like Marielle and this cannot be the case. I felt her death quite personally, it terrified me.”
On March 14th, councilwoman Franco, along with her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were fatally shot in Franco’s car while returning home from an event in Rio’s Centro neighborhood. As of this writing, their murders remain unsolved.