TEGUCIGALPA – A police officer and a former law enforcement agent were arrested on Monday for planting false evidence during the investigation of last year’s murder of environmentalist Berta Caceres, Honduran prosecutors said.
Juan Carlos Cruz, an investigator, and former police officer Miguel Arcangel Rosales Izcano are charged with evidence tampering, the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
“The crime with which Cruz and Rosales Izcano are charged is related to the initial investigation of Caceres’s murder,” the AG’s office said.
Prosecutors investigated the suspects and determined that they submitted “false evidence to try to change the course of the investigation of the crime against the environmental leader,” the AG’s office said.
Caceres, founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and an award-winning environmental activist who opposed hydroelectric power projects, was killed on March 3, 2016, at her home in the western city of La Esperanza.
Eight other suspects have been arrested in connection with her murder.
Prosecutors allege that the suspects murdered Caceres and tried to kill Mexican human rights activist Gustavo Castro, director of the Otros Mundos Chiapas organization and the only witness to the killing.
Among those arrested in connection with the killing is Sergio Ramon Rodriguez, who was the manager of Desarrollo Energeticos (DESA).
Caceres clashed with DESA while leading a campaign to protect the Gualcarque River, where the company planned to build the Agua Zarca hydroelectric power project.
In late October, the International Advisory Group of Experts (GAIPE) released a report blaming DESA executives for Caceres’s murder.
On Oct. 7, Jose Caceres Molina, the slain environmentalist’s father, was attacked by a machete-wielding boy and wounded at his house in Marcala, a city in the western province of La Paz, media reports said.
Caceres Molina, who owns the Aguas de la Sierra company, was attacked by a 12-year-old boy in an apparent robbery.
Caceres Molina shot his assailant in the head, media reports said.