RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian police on Wednesday arrested three suspects in the 2013 murder of newspaper editor Jose Roberto Ornelas de Lemos, authorities said.
De Lemos, editor of daily Hora H daily, was shot 44 times at a bakery in the working class Rio de Janeiro suburb of Nova Iguaçu.
The three suspects, identified as Vanderson Da Silva, Braulino Brejeiro Fernandes and Celso Henrique Batista Ribeiro, are members of a gang led by a police officer who was also arrested, the Rio de Janeiro state police said in a statement.
The head of the investigation, inspector Fabio Cardoso, told reporters that the gang viewed De Lemos as an “obstacle” to their planned expansion into Nova Iguaçu.
After the assassination the gang spread its operations to the Corumba, Adrianopolis, Santa Rita and Vila de Cava neighborhoods of Nova Iguaçu.
The gang is of a type known in Brazil as “militias.”
The militias, which almost include police officers, take control of neighborhoods and extort money from residents in exchange for “protection.” The groups also establish monopolies over basic products and services such as cooking gas and cable television.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Brazil is the third most dangerous country in the Americas for journalists, with 38 news gatherers murdered between 2000 and 2014.