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Peruvian Blue:

Here's a story hot off the wires. No link yet.

LIMA, Peru (AP) A key witness against a man U.S. drug authorities say is Peru's most notorious drug trafficker was shot to death in prison, officials said Wednesday.

Jose Maria Aguilar, known as "Shushupe'' a type of deadly snake in Peru was shot to death Tuesday in his prison cell in the jungle city of Pucallapa, 305 miles (490 kilometers) northeast of Lima.

Aguilar had told authorities that Fernando Zevallos, the founder of the country's now defunct national airline, Aero Continente, used his company's planes to smuggle drugs into Colombia, El Comercio newspaper reported.

Aguilar was shot twice in the face allegedly by a prisoner already serving time for murder, said officials with the National Institute of Prisons. The inmate was not identified.

Peru's director of prisons, Wilfredo Pedraza, said Wednesday investigators do not believe this was simply a fight between inmates.

"This was a planned act, organized from outside, premeditated and executed by a person who already had a record of committing murder for hire,'' Pedraza told reporters in Pucallapa. "Aguilar's murder was planned by a third party ... (whose identity) the police investigation will have to determine.''

In a television interview on Peru's Canal 2, Zevallos denied any involvement in Aguilar's death.
"It would be very stupid to do that,'' said Zevallos.
Zevallos, 47, is currently on trial for drug trafficking. In his interview, he again denied the charges against him.

"I'm a businessman,'' he said.
``I'm not a criminal. I'm not a drug trafficker.''
Zevallos has been the subject of more than 30 investigations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and has been tried in Peru on charges of murder-for-hire, trafficking in cocaine and money laundering. But he has never been convicted of a crime.

The Bush Administration added Zevallos to Washington's international "drug kingpin'' list in June, freezing his U.S. assets and prohibiting U.S. citizens from commercial dealing with him or any of his businesses.
There are a lot of questions about this story. The answer to all of them is, "Because it's South America."

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