Brazil teen arrested in anthropologist's killing
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Police arrested a 17-year-old boy Wednesday and charged him with killing a prominent anthropologist last week in an Amazon state.
The suspect, whose name could not be disclosed because he is a minor, is accused of shooting Apoena Meireles, 55, during a robbery at a cash machine in Porto Velho, 1,680 miles (2,700 kilometers) northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Meireles, a former head of the federal Indian bureau, was an expert on the Cinta Larga Indians.
Police said the youth was a private-school student from a middle-class family. He allegedly told police he borrowed a gun and committed the robbery because he needed money.
The youth, who made off with 50 reals ($18) and a cellular phone, was identified by a federal Indian bureau employee who witnessed the crime, police said.
Police said an anonymous tip led them to the youth.
Meireles, who was the first anthropologist to contact the Cinta Larga Indians in the late 1960s, had been called out of retirement in April, after the tribe massacred 29 people illegally mining for diamonds on their reservation.
Meireles was working with a federal task force to shut down the mining operations when he was killed.
Police said Wednesday's arrest seemed to rule out the possibility that Meireles' was killed in reprisal for his work with the task force.
Mining on the Roosevelt Indian reservation is believed to involve powerful economic interests. Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry estimates some $2 billion worth of diamonds have been smuggled off the reservation over the past four years.
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