Paraguay anti-drug prosecutor shot dead on honeymoon in Colombia | Drugs News

Marcelo Pecci, 45, was fatally shot whereas enjoyable on a seashore on Colombia’s Carribean island of Baru, his spouse says.

Paraguayan anti-drug prosecutor Marcelo Pecci has been shot lifeless whereas honeymooning on a Colombian Caribbean island by males who fled by sea, police and his widow mentioned.

Paraguay’s president denounced the crime as a “cowardly homicide” and a fellow prosecutor mentioned the modus operandi was paying homage to “the [drug] mafia”.

Pecci, 45, was felled by two pictures on Tuesday whereas enjoyable on a seashore on the vacationer island of Baru, in accordance with his spouse, Paraguayan journalist Claudia Aguilera, whom he married on April 30 within the close by metropolis of Cartagena.

“Two males attacked Marcelo. They got here in a small boat, or on a jet ski, the reality is I didn’t see properly,” she instructed the El Tiempo newspaper.

One of many assailants obtained out and “with out a phrase he shot Marcelo twice, one [bullet] hit him within the face and one other within the again”, Aguilera mentioned.

She mentioned her husband of lower than two weeks had not acquired any threats.

The Decameron lodge, the place the couple was staying, mentioned in a press release that “assassins arrived on the seashore … and attacked and murdered one among our friends”.

Colombian President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview
Colombia’s President Ivan Duque denounced the killing, promising to cooperate with Paraguay ‘to seek out these accountable’ [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

The motive for the killing was not instantly identified, however Paraguayan prosecutor Augusto Salas, a colleague of Pecci, mentioned the modus operandi was “typical of the [drug] mafia, so that’s what I’ll assume till the opposite is confirmed”.

Colombian police chief Jorge Luis Vargas mentioned 5 murder investigators have been dispatched to Baru, and can obtain backing from Paraguayan and US consultants.

“There may be info being collected … that can assist us establish these accountable,” Vargas mentioned.

Colombian President Ivan Duque “denounced” the killing on Twitter. Duque mentioned he had provided condolences to his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo Benitez and promised “cooperation to seek out these accountable”.

For his half, Benitez mentioned on Twitter: “Your complete Paraguayan nation mourns the cowardly homicide of prosecutor Marcelo Pecci in Colombia.

“We condemn this tragic occasion within the strongest phrases, and we redouble our dedication to preventing organized crime,” he added.

Pecci’s workplace mentioned in a press release that steps have been being taken “to supply help and assure the security of his household”.

Pecci had specialised in organised crime, drug trafficking, cash laundering and the financing of terrorism.

He was concerned in investigations towards Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, held in Paraguay for a number of months in 2020 over a pretend passport scandal.

He additionally led an operation that led to the seizure of dozens of properties acquired by way of cash laundering, and the arrest of some 30 folks this 12 months.

The US embassy in Paraguay provided its condolences to Pecci’s family members and hailed his “dedication, professionalism and dedication to the struggle towards organised crime”.

Paraguay’s ambassador to Colombia, Sophia Lopez, mentioned Pecci was on a “non-public” journey and had no work conferences scheduled.

Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer, is contending with a wave of violence regardless of a 2016 peace deal that disarmed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group and ended a close to six-decade civil battle.

Preventing over territory and sources continues in components of the nation between dissident FARC armed fighters, the ELN insurgent group, paramilitary forces and drug cartels.

For its half, landlocked Paraguay – nestled between Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina – has grow to be an necessary launchpad for medication headed for Europe.

Paraguay and Colombia have lately strengthened their alliance within the struggle towards organised and cross-border crime.

US judge to decide how much pharmacies owe over opioid crisis | Drugs News

Roughly 80 million prescription painkillers have been disbursed in Trumbull County between 2012 and 2016 — 400 for each county resident — whereas 61 million drugs have been disbursed in Lake County throughout that five-year interval — 265 drugs for each resident.

How a lot cash ought to CVS, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies pay two Ohio counties in damages to assist abate the results of the opioid disaster?

That’s the query in entrance of a federal choose in Cleveland, who will start listening to testimony on Tuesday after a jury discovered the three large pharmacy chains accountable final fall for recklessly distributing huge quantities of ache drugs in Lake and Trumbull counties. It was the primary time pharmacies in the US have been held answerable for the opioid disaster.

Plaintiff’s legal professionals stated earlier than the trial that every county wants about $1bn to restore the harm attributable to the flood of drugs, which triggered lots of of overdose deaths.

Roughly 80 million prescription painkillers have been disbursed in Trumbull County between 2012 and 2016 — 400 for each county resident — whereas 61 million drugs have been disbursed in Lake County throughout that five-year interval — 265 drugs for each resident.

Again in November, a jury in US District Decide Dan Polster’s courtroom sided with the counties and agreed that the best way the pharmacies disbursed ache remedy performed an outsized function in making a public nuisance.

Now, the counties are anticipated to current testimony from medical doctors to debate the hurt suffered by these communities, the opioid disaster’ impact on baby welfare and different county businesses, and an abatement plan created for the counties.

“The jury sounded a bell that needs to be heard by means of all pharmacies in America,” Mark Lanier, the lead lawyer for the counties, stated after November’s verdict.

Throughout the US, many lawsuits filed by governments over the toll of the medication have been resolved lately — most with settlements, and a few with judgments or verdicts in trials. To this point, drug makers, distributors and pharmacies have agreed to settlements totalling nicely greater than $40bn, in accordance with an Related Press tally.

Trials are below approach in courts in West Virginia, Florida and California. A call has not but been issued after one other trial final 12 months in West Virginia.

In keeping with an April 25 court docket submitting, the abatement plan created for Lake and Trumbull counties by Dr Caleb Alexander of John Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, “are cheap and essential to abate the general public nuisance discovered by the jury”.

The plan focuses on prevention, therapy, restoration and “measures meant to particularly tackle the wants of particular populations who’ve been uniquely affected by the opioid epidemic”, the court docket submitting stated.

Attorneys for Walgreens and Walmart argued in a court docket submitting that the counties’ $878m abatement plan needs to be restricted to 1 12 months and never the minimal of 5 years the counties argue they want. One of many pharmacy chains’ consultants has estimated the precise price at $346m whereas one other professional stated it was lower than $35m, the submitting stated.

Defence legal professionals additionally argued that harm attributable to different entities who contributed to the general public nuisance of opioid habit needs to be excluded from any quantities awarded by Polster and that these prices needs to be restricted to the pharmacies’ “applicable share of contribution to the nuisance”.

Pharmacy chain Ceremony-Support settled with the counties in early October earlier than the beginning of the trial. Pittsburgh-based Big Eagle reached a settlement with the counties in late October after the trial began.

There have been almost 500,000 deaths attributable to authorized and unlawful opioids between 2000 and 2019, in accordance with the US Facilities for Illness Management.

US: Walgreens reaches $683m opioid settlement with Florida | Drugs News

Pharmacy chains have more and more been focused for allegedly lax oversight states say spurred excessive charges of habit.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, which owns a string of retail pharmacies, has reached a $683m settlement with Florida to resolve claims it exacerbated an opioid epidemic within the state.

The settlement ends a trial that started final month, after Walgreens determined to not be a part of a mixed $878m settlement within the state with 4 different healthcare firms.

Up to now, Florida has recovered greater than $3bn in opioid litigation in opposition to drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies, in response to Florida Lawyer Normal Ashley Moody.

It can spend a lot of the cash on efforts to mitigate the opioid disaster within the state.

“I’m glad that we have now been capable of finish this monumental litigation and transfer previous the courtroom,” Moody mentioned at a Thursday press convention.

The latest settlement consists of $620m to be paid to Florida over 18 years, plus $63m for authorized charges.

Walgreens didn’t admit wrongdoing as a part of the settlement, which stems from allegations the corporate performed down the dangers of habit and overdoses, and have been lax in monitoring the place capsules ended up.

The case hinged on accusations that as Walgreens disbursed greater than 4.3 billion opioid capsules in Florida from Could 2006 to June 2021, greater than half of the prescriptions contained a number of simply recognised purple flags for abuse, fraud and habit that the corporate ought to have observed and acted upon.

Previous to settling, Walgreens had argued it needs to be immune from being sued based mostly on a $3,000 settlement it reached with Florida in 2012.

Florida had referred to as Walgreens’ place “absurd”, in response to courtroom transcripts, saying the 2012 settlement addressed solely a single record-keeping violation.

CVS Well being Corp beforehand agreed to settle with Florida for $484m, whereas Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Abbvie Inc’s Allergan unit and Endo Worldwide Plc agreed to pay a respective $194.8m, $134.2m and $65m.

All denied wrongdoing.

The nationwide opioid disaster has led to greater than 500,000 overdose deaths within the final twenty years, in response to the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Greater than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed in opposition to these allegedly chargeable for the disaster.

Whereas many initially focused drugmakers and distributors, states have additionally more and more focused pharmacies.

In November of final yr, a jury in a federal trial in Ohio discovered Walmart, CVS Well being Corp, and Walgreens Boots Alliance responsible of spurring the disaster by failing to correctly monitor opioid prescriptions.

On Tuesday Washington state reached a $518m settlement with opioid distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Well being, ending a months-long trial in these firms’ alleged position within the opioid disaster.