Security guard of Peru anti-corruption prosecutor gunned down

At least five armed men ambushed the car of organized crime prosecutor Mateo Castañeda this morning, riddling his vehicle with bullets and killing one security guard. According to Radio Programas radio the shooting occurred while Castañeda was in a friend’s house in Lima’s San Borja district. His security guard, police officer Carlos Narciso Imata Concha, was shot three times while he waited in the car. He was later pronounced dead at a San Borja Clinic.

Castañeda’s portfolio includes high profile terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption cases in Peru. He oversaw the investigation of irregularities in the 1996 acquisition of Peru’s presidential airplane.

Castañeda is currently prosecuting former presidential advisor and intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos on drug trafficking charges. During trial proceedings yesterday, Castañeda requested Montesinos serve a 30 year sentence for his alleged ties to Colombia’s former cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar.

After the shooting, Castañeda declined to respond when asked by reporters if he had received death threats prior to the attack. The director general of Peru’s National Police, David Rodríguez, told Radio Programas radio they have few leads on who is responsible for the ambush.

¨No one knows the motives of the incident but it is clear that Mateo Castañedas, as a superior prosecutor, has been leading the organized crime caseload,¨ Peru’s state attorney for drug enforcement Sonia Medina told Agencia Andina. ¨Authorities need to take measures to guarantee the security of people connected to the fight against organized crime, drug trafficking, and money laundering.¨

Organized crime prosecutors and judges are increasingly threatened in Peru. In July 2006, Judge Hernán Saturno Vergara was assassinated in a downtown Lima restaurant by hit men allegedly hired by Mexico’s Tijuana cartel.

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