The chief prosecutor of Honduras’ Anti-Money Laundering Unit has been assassinated, adding yet another case to the country’s long list of murdered officials amid rising impunity.
Orlan Arturo Chavez was shot seven times by unknown attackers in Tegucigalpa as he made his way home. He was rushed to the hospital by firefighters, but died minutes after entering the emergency ward.
Chavez’s brother said the prosecutor often received death threats by phone and that months earlier a vehicle had attempted to run him over outside his house. According to El Heraldo, at the time of his murder Chavez was preparing for a preliminary money laundering hearing involving a former Public Ministry representative.
The President of the Association of Public Ministry Prosecutors, Fabricio Erazo, said that Anti-Money Laundering Unit prosecutors receive little state protection.
The 59-year-old Chavez, who was also a university law professor, had been head of the unit since 1999 and helped create Honduras’ anti-money laundering law.
InSight Crime Analysis
Chavez’s is the third prosecutor killed in the last three years, and the latest in a long series of judicial, government, and law enforcement officials targeted in Honduras. He was also believed to work closely with US authorities against powerful organized crime interests. In December 2012, a town mayor was shot by men in military uniforms, and a police sub commissioner was pulled from his car and murdered in Tegucigalpa in January 2013.
The Honduran Observatory on Violence attributed an increasing number of murders in Honduras — which has the world’s highest homicide rate and saw a record number of murders in 2012 — to organized crime.