The case of a recently murdered rancher in Paraguay has taken an unexpected twist that casts doubt on the theory that leftist guerrillas were responsible, and may prompt suspicions that drug traffickers, political opponents, or even police were behind the killing.
Forensic analysis of the murder of Luis Lindstron revealed the bullets used in the attack were from a batch bought by the Paraguayan police from Colombia.
Police spokesmen were quick to put forward the hypothesis that the bullets were stolen in a 2011 heist from an arsenal belonging to their special forces unit (FOPE), a crime for which two police officials were later arrested.
Investigators now believe the intellectual authors of the crime were likely political opponents of the landowner with mafia contacts, reported Ultima Hora. Other theories circulating are that the hit was ordered after a dispute between local drug traffickers and Lindstron, or as a result of a land dispute.
Two men have been arrested for the murder, and police are searching for four more suspects. Speaking to newspaper ABC, one of the wanted men denied involvement in the murder and allegations he is connected to the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) -- a guerrilla group initially blamed for the killing -- and accused prosecutors of framing him.
InSight Crime Analysis
The new information about the murder of Lindstron creates more questions than answers. It is now clear the EPP were not the only ones whose interests clashed with the rancher in the region, and also that it is possible that behind the assault were corrupt members of the security forces.
What is clear is that the Paraguayan authorities, followed by the media, were too quick to blame the guerrillas -- even going as far as announcing a renewed assault on the rebels as a result of the murder.
As well as making a convenient scapegoat for a high-profile killing, the push to blame the EPP may also have political motivations as the authorities were also keen to emphasize the alleged ties between the guerrillas and previous president Fernando Lugo -- who was ousted last year in a controversial impeachment process that sparked international outcry.