Police arrest second suspect in connection with men missing in Brazilian Amazon

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Brazilian Federal Police announced on Tuesday that a second suspect had been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a British journalist and former indigenous leader in a remote region of the Brazilian Amazon.

Oseney da Costa de Oliveira has been remanded in custody on suspicion of being involved in the case with his brother Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, the man police believe is the prime suspect in the case. Oseney da Costa de Oliveira told The Associated Press on Friday that he visited his brother in jail and was told that police had tortured his brother on his own boat.

Police had reported finding traces of blood in Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira’s boat. Possible man-made organic material was discovered in the river. The materials are being analyzed.

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira has been arrested for unlawful possession of restricted ammunition and a judge has ordered that he be detained for an additional 30 days as the investigation into the disappearances continues.

MISSING BRITISH JOURNALIST DOM PHILIPS: TWO BODIES FOUND IN BRAZILIAN AMAZON; IDENTIFICATION IN PROGRESS

People take part in a vigil outside the Brazilian Embassy for Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira, a British journalist and indigenous affairs official missing in the Amazon, in London, Thursday June 9, 2022
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People take part in a vigil outside the Brazilian Embassy for Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira, a British journalist and indigenous affairs official missing in the Amazon, in London, Thursday June 9, 2022
((Victoria Jones/PA via AP))

The arrests came amid a search for British journalist Dom Phillips and former indigenous leader Bruno Pereira, who were both last seen on June 5 near Javari Valley indigenous territory in an area remote part of the Brazilian Amazon on the border of Peru and Colombia.

According to locals who were with Pereira and Phillips, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira brandished a gun the day before the men disappeared.

The suspect denied any wrongdoing and said police tortured him to extract a confession, his family told the AP.

The search for the missing men continued on Tuesday after two bodies were reportedly found in the rainforest. Federal police said in a statement on Monday that the bodies of the two missing men had still not been found.

MISSING BRITISH JOURNALIST DOM PHILLIPS: POSSIBLE HUMAN REMAINS FOUND IN BRAZIL AMAZON

A federal police expert examines a boat seized by the task force for the rescue of indigenist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips at the port in the city of Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas, Brazil, June 11, 2022.

A federal police expert examines a boat seized by the task force for the rescue of indigenist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips at the port in the city of Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas, Brazil, June 11, 2022.
((Photo by JOAO LAET/AFP) (Photo by JOAO LAET/AFP via Getty Images))

And items belonging to the men were recovered on Sunday. These items include a backpack, laptop, health card, and clothing.

Search teams are searching an area of ​​the Itaquai River where volunteers from the Matis Indigenous Group reported Saturday finding a tarp from the boat used by the two men.

The area where the men disappeared has seen violent conflict between fishermen, poachers and government agents. The violence has escalated as drug gangs battle for control of waterways to transport cocaine. The Itaquai, however, is not a known drug trafficking route.

SUSPECT IS DETAINED AS BRAZIL ACCELERATES SEARCH FOR MISSING BRITISH JOURNALIST AND RESEARCHER IN AMAZON REMOTELY

A federal police officer takes pictures of a boat seized during the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous affairs expert Bruno Araujo Pereira in Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, Atalaia do Norte, State from Amazonas, Brazil, on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

A federal police officer takes pictures of a boat seized during the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous affairs expert Bruno Araujo Pereira in Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, Atalaia do Norte, State from Amazonas, Brazil, on Saturday, June 11, 2022.
((AP Photo/Edmar Barros))

Pereira previously headed FUNAI, the local office of the Brazilian government’s indigenous agency, and participated in several operations against illegal fishing. These operations usually involve the seizure or destruction of fishing gear while fishers are fined and briefly detained.

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The natives are the only ones who can fish legally on their territories.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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