Venezuela’s Public Prosecution Indicts Two Tumeremo Massacre Suspects

The suspects are alleged to have acted as part of a criminal gang that carried out the mass murder of at least 17 miners in Bolivar state earlier in March.

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

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“Justice for our loved ones. We have hope.” (AP)
“Justice for our loved ones. We have hope.” (AP)
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Bogota, June 23, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Public Prosecution has formerly indicted two men in connection to the mass murder of 17 people in the state of Bolivar earlier this year, the public legal body has confirmed.  

Carlos Alberto Ortíz (24) and Wilmer Cayetano Pino (45) were both arrested on May 6th by Venezuela’s National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) after a mass grave with up to 21 bodies was discovered by authorities near the Nuevo Callao mine in the southeastern town of Tumeremo in Bolivar state.

The shocking finding was made after families in the area reported 28 miners as missing on March 4th when they failed to return from work.  

Both the national government and the local community maintain that the miners were murdered by mafias that run illegal gold mining operations in the area.  

An official press release from the Public Prosecution on Wednesday revealed that Ortíz and Pino stand accused of several crimes, including bearing an illegal firearm, resisting authority, money laundering and association to commit crime. 

Pino is also charged with drug trafficking while Ortíz will be prosecuted for premeditated murder, false imprisonment, and armed robbery.   

Several other suspects also captured earlier this year will face charges in connection to the massacre, including Rosa Zoraida Gil (56), her nephew Luis Tomás Rivera Malavé, cousins Manuel Alejandro and Carlos Alonso Balaguera, Colombian citizens Rodolfo Andredy Castrillón Castro and Publio Evelio Martínez Suárez, Francisco David Carache Zambrano, José Ismael Báez Lejarazo (22), Dennis Renier Cardozo (26), and Eduardo José Iglesias (25).  

Gil, Zambrano, Lejarazo, Cardozo, and Iglesias are all accused of homicide or complicity to murder, among other charges.  

Ecuadorean citizen, presumed gang leader and author of the massacre Andres Ulloa Suarez was killed during a shootout with authorities on May 6th as several other suspects were apprehended.