SAN SALVADOR – The three Salvadoran members of the Central American Parliament slain nearly four years ago while traveling in Guatemala were carrying $5 million in cash, San Salvador daily El Mundo reported Monday, citing investigators.
“The transporting of $5 million in two black suitcases was the motive that provoked the murder of the three deputies,” the newspaper said in an article based on excerpts from a report by the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig.
The charred, bullet-riddled bodies of lawmakers Eduardo D’Aubuisson, William Pichinte and Jose Gonzalez and their driver, Gerardo Ramirez, were found Feb. 19, 2007, inside a burned-out vehicle abandoned near the Guatemalan town of Santa Elena Barillas.
Four Guatemalan police officers arrested three days later as suspects in the quadruple-murder were themselves slain in custody.
El Mundo said Cicig investigators determined the $5 million belonged to Pichinte, who used his wife’s SUV for the trip through Guatemala with his two colleagues and the driver, a Salvadoran police officer assigned to escort the three lawmakers.
The findings cited by the newspaper indicate the killings of the Salvadorans were masterminded by Victor Rivera, a Venezuelan consultant to Guatemala’s interior ministry; and Victor Hugo Soto Dieguez, then head of the Guatemalan investigative police.
Besides the cash, Rivera – murdered in April 2008 – and Soto Dieguez, who faces charges in Guatemala for extrajudicial executions of prison inmates, suspected the vehicle was carrying 20 kilos of cocaine, according to Cicig investigators.
Nine people are now on trial in Guatemala for the 2007 murders. EFE