Brazilian authorities have arrested three military police officers suspected of the recent murder of a Rio de Janeiro judge, who they suspect was targeted for her investigations into police corruption.
On Sunday, authorities ordered the detention of the three men on suspicion of committing the August 12 murder of Judge Patricia Acioli. They were members of a highly trained tactical police batallion in São Goncalo, a suburb 25 kilometers outside of Rio.
As O Globo reports, the men had previously been arrested for allegedly murdering an 18-year-old on June 3. The paper alleges that the officers planned the judge’s murder a month in advance, planning to prevent her sending them to prison for the previous crime.
Acioli was killed in a hail of gunfire when masked gunmen ambushed her car outside her home last month, firing 21 bullets. As InSight Crime has reported, Acioli had made a name for herself as a crusader against mafia groups and police executions. She was especially known for cracking down on urban militias, often made up of former policemen and firemen, who control many of the favelas outside of Rio. Acioli reportedly issued more than 50 rulings against current and former policemen who ran these groups, who are thought to have ordered her death.
In September of last year, she ordered the arrest of four militia members who were allegedly responsible for over 100 murders. This January, when police arrested another militia leader in the area, he was carrying a “hit list,” which contained the names of a dozen enemies of the gang, including Acioli’s.