SAO PAULO, July 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian police on Monday arrested another suspect in connection with the 2018 murder of popular Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, acting on a plea bargain confession by an arrested suspect.
A preventive arrest warrant and seven search and seizure warrants were served, Justice Minister Flavio Dino confirmed in a press conference in the capital Brasilia.
The man arrested was named as former firefighter Maxwell Simoes Correia, and he is suspected of hiding the weapons used by the ex-police suspects who are on trial over the shooting, according to Dino.
In March 2019, two former police officers, Ronnie Lessa and Elcio de Queiroz, were indicted on charges of shooting Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes. They remain in federal prison custody.
The minister said that Queiroz, who is accused of driving the car used in the crime, made a plea bargain with police and prosecutors and said he was an accessory to the crime and confirmed that Lessa was involved in the murder.
"We are close to solving this horrendous crime," Dino said, adding that information provided by Queiroz will help identify others involved in the crime and more police operations can be expected in the coming weeks.
Franco, 38, was a black, openly gay and progressive councilwoman born in a poor Rio de Janeiro neighborhood. Investigators believe her killing to be a political assassination carried out by paid hit men.
A rising star in the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), Franco was an outspoken critic of police killings of poor Rio residents and her death sparked nationwide protests by Brazilians fed up with endemic violence.
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