During a deposition that last little more than four hours, city councilman Cesar Monteiro denied being the mastermind and hiring a group to kill radio broadcaster Jairo de Sousa, murdered in the early hours of 21 June 2018, in the city of Braganca, state of Para. The councilman presented himself to the police on November 20, 2018, in Belem, after being considered a fugitive for four days. Five months after the crime, eight people were arrested, and one remains at large.
The killing of Jairo de Sousa is the second case investigated by the team of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) within the Tim Lopes Program, developed with the support of Open Society Foundations to combat violence against journalists and impunity for those responsible. The first case was that of Jefferson Pureza, 39 years old, in Edealina, in the state of Goias, executed with three shots to the head while resting on the balcony of his house, on January 17, 2018. Six people were arrested.
Accompanied by two lawyers, Cesar Monteiro said he felt abandoned by the Braganca politicians and that he was being attacked by the city's media outlets linked to the local city hall. He added that there is a group that is plotting against him, placing him as a scapegoat for the crime, as everyone knew that he had disagreements with the broadcaster. In his testimony, the councilman pointed out some people as possible killers.
Monteiro also said that, on learning of the police presence in Braganca, on November 16, 2018, he sought the mayor, Raimundo “Raimundao” Nonato de Oliveira, in search of help. He told the chiefs of police responsible for the case, Dauriedson Bentes da Silva and Eduardo Rollo, who, upon arriving at the mayor's home, met the Secretary of Infrastructure, Luciano Brito. The two left together, after a brief meeting with Raimundao.
In Operation Pearl, the police carried out search and seizure warrants for documents at Luciano Brito's home and at the two companies of the councilman's nephews: Terra Forte Terraplanagem and Terra Forte Construcao e Serviço, that belong to Yann Monteiro Leite and Odivaldo “Dinho” de Lima Leite Filho.
According to the chief of police Dauriedson Bentes da Silva, from the Homicide Division, Cesar Monteiro added that he removed his family from the city of Braganca for security reasons on the same day of the start of the operation. After being heard, the councilman was taken to the Anastacio das Neves Recovery Center, in the Santa Izabel do Para prison complex, in the metropolitan region of Belem, to serve 30 days temporary imprisonment.