Ecuador interior minister's brother murdered

QUITO: Ecuador Interior Minister Jose Serrano said Sunday his brother had been killed by unknown attackers, but he denied that the murder was in retaliation to his own efforts to fight organized crime.

Juan Antonio Serrano, 34, was stabbed to death while trying to block strangers from crashing a family party in the city of Cuenca (430 kilometers, 265 miles, south of Quito), the minister told reporters.

But the minister rejected revenge as a motive for the killing, which comes after his office delivered several blows to organized crime in a campaign that includes the payment of rewards for the capture of the country's most wanted.

The crackdown has also shaken the nation's illicit drug trade.

Six suspects in two separate cars were detained by police responding to the killing. A bloody shirt was found inside one of the two vehicles.

The suspects, including a 21-year-old with a criminal record, have already been arraigned.

Serrano, who traveled to Cuenca early Sunday, said a specialized team will investigate the murder.





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