Brutal execution

Four suspects in Marielle Franco murder case arrested

Suspects include the wife and brother-in-law of former police officer accused of killing Rio councilwoman and her driver

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Rio de Janeiro councilwoman and human rights activist Marielle Franco was brutally murdered in March 2018 / AFP

The police arrested Thursday four suspects in the execution of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman and human rights activist Marielle Franco and the driver Anderson Gomes. The suspects are connected to the retired police sergeant Ronnie Lessa, accused of carrying out the crime.

During the operation, the police arrested Lessa’s wife, Elaine de Figueiredo Lessa, her brother, Bruno Figueiredo, and two other men, Josinaldo Lucas Freitas and Márcio Montavano. There was a fifth arrest warrant issued for Ronnie Lessa himself, who is jailed in a federal prison in Rio Grande do Norte state.

The police operation Submersus aims to find out what happened with the missing murder weapon that was used to execute Franco and Gomes.

Investigators pointed out that the submachine gun used was tossed in the ocean in an action coordinated by Elaine Lessa.

Ronnie’s wife also owns the apartment where the guns were allegedly kept.

The police believe that Márcio Montavano, one of the suspects arrested today, moved the boxes with the guns from Elaine’s apartment with Bruno Figueredo’s help, while Josinaldo Freitas is accused of having rented a boat to toss the guns in the ocean.

The police reported that the group got rid of the guns days after Ronnie Lessa’s arrest, on Mar. 12

A fisher testified to the police that a man rented his boat and tossed six guns in the ocean. Globo, a Brazilian TV channel, reported that Navy officers used sonar equipment to find the weapons.

Social media

On his social media, Josinaldo Lucas Freitas, the martial arts teacher accused of renting the boat, has posted pictures of himself with president Jair Bolsonaro and his son, Rio councilman Carlos Bolsonaro. He has also posted photos where he’s standing next to councilman Marcello Siciliano, who has also been investigated in the Marielle Franco case.

Edition: Mariana Pitasse