Councilman Cesar Monteiro is suspected of having hired a group to kill radio broadcaster Jairo de Sousa, 43 years old, murdered in the early hours of June 21, 2018, in the city of Braganca, in the state of Para. Monteiro went to the Homicide Division department in Belem, the capital city of the state, on November 20, 2018, after having his temporary arrest decreed during Operation Pearl, launched four days earlier. The chiefs of police responsible for the casa, Dauriedson Bentes da Silva and Eduardo Rollo, took the deposition of the councilman. So far, the police have arrested eight people; one is still at large.
On Saturday, November 17, 2018, the councilman gave an interview to broadcaster Gerson Peres Filho, from Perola FM, where Sousa worked. He denied involvement in the crime and said he feared for his life. “A lot has happened so far, and I am beginning to reflect on it to help the justice system," he said.
The investigations point to the motivation of the crime as a way to prevent the daily complaints against the public administration of that city and other neighboring municipalities presented in the Sousa show.
Sousa's death is the second case investigated by the team from the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) within the Tim Lopes Program. The first was that of Jefferson Pureza, in Edealina, in the state of Goias, executed with three shots to the head while resting on the porch of his house, on January 17, 2018. Six people were arrested.
The Tim Lopes Program was developed by Abraji, with the support of Open Society Foundations, to combat violence against journalists and impunity for those responsible. Whenever there is a crime related to the exercise of the profession, a network of traditional and independent media outlets is activated to follow the investigations and publish reports on the allegations in which the journalist worked until he or she was killedCurrently, the network includes Public Agency, Post Office (BA), O Globo, Poder 360, Ponte Jornalismo, Projeto Colabora, TV Aratu, TV Globo, and Veja.
The group suspected of murdering the radio broadcaster from Braganca is being investigated for acting in the state of Para with contract killings. Investigations indicate that the city councilman had negotiated the murder of Jairo de Sousa with Jose Roberto “Calar” Costa de Sousa (no relation), appointed as head of the group and arrested in the week of November 12, 2018, in the city of Castanhal, 138 kilometers away of Braganca. On November 15, 2018, the police found Dione Sousa Almeida, accused of shooting the broadcaster. She was in a house in the city of Cachoeira de Piria, 132 kilometers from Braganca, and 180 kilometers from Castanhal.
On the following day, Operation Pearl was launched – the name of the operation alludes to to the radio show Show da Perola (Pearl), presented by Sousa –, with a request for nine temporary arrests and four search and seizure warrants. The operation counted on 50 police officers and was coordinated by the Homicide Division and supported by the Division for the Repression of Organized Crime, the Superintendency of the Caete Region, and the Civil Police of Braganca. The councilman escaped arrest for going to a party and not sleeping in his house on that night.
According to chief of police Dauriedson Bentes da Silva, Jadson Guilherme Reis de Sousa – son of Jose Roberto Costa de Sousa – Octacílio Antonio da Silva, Moisaniel Sousa da Silva – who would be the gunsmith of the group – and Jedson Miranda da Silva, son of Moisaniel, were all transferred to Belem. The seventh accused of the killing, Edvaldo Meireles da Silva, was in prison for another homicide. Madson de Melo is still at large.
On the night of November 16, 2018, just over 10 kilometers from Braganca, some people from the Parada Bom Jesus community set fire to the car and the house where Octacílio Antonio da Silva lived. He was one of those arrested in Operation Pearl. Police said two unidentified men on a motorcycle caused the fire.
As for Sousa’s death, according to the investigation, after being hired by the councilman, the group organized two ambushes to surprise the broadcaster. Jairo de Sousa often left the radio at 9 am and went to the locality of Montenegro, where he usually had lunch with ex-wife Cristina de Sousa and her children. The group organized the ambush in that place for two nights, between 8 pm and 5 am. Unsuccessfully and unaware of the radio host's address in Braganca, where he lived with his wife at the time, the criminals decided to kill him when he was arriving on the radio, in the city center.
The group used two cars on the day of the murder. Sousa was killed with two shots when he climbed the stairs that gave access to the radio station. He had been using a bulletproof vest for twelve years due to threats received throughout his career as a broadcaster in radio stations in neighboring municipalities and Braganca. That morning, he wasn’t wearing his vest.
During Operation Pearl, documents were seized at the headquarters of Terra Forte Terraplanagem and Terra Forte Construcao e Serviço, which belong to Yann Victor Monteiro Leite and Odivaldo “Dinho” de Lima Leite Filho. Both are nephews of councilman Cesar Monteiro.
In the city of Edealina, in the state of Goias, in the case of the murder of Jefferson Pureza, councilman Jose Eduardo Alves da Silva, accused of ordering the killing, and two other men who participated in the negotiation of the crime, are awaiting trial. Three minors comply with socio-educational measures: one shot, the other drove the motorcycle, and the third recruited the others to carry out the crime, which cost 5,000 reais plus a revolver 38.