“It is clear that (the attack) wants to create a commotion. Beyond the national and international public repercussion, it generates intimidation”Jorge Baclini, the chief prosecutor of the province of Santa Fe, where Rosario is located, the largest export port and the city with the most homicides in the country, told Radio Cadena 3.
Rosario had a rate of de 22 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, five times more than in all of Argentina, according to official data.
In other statements to the press, Baclini said that the prosecutor Federico Rébola, in charge of the case, “works with several hypotheses and it is an investigation that is taking good direction.”
“The objective of the attack was to seek public impact,” Rébola said.
“There is nothing to indicate that they wanted to intimidate or demand something from the Roccuzzo family. They used something close to Lionel Messi to ensure a wide spread. And with that the message reached the whole world”, added Rébola.
In the early hours of Thursday, two men on a motorcycle attacked a supermarket belonging to the Único chain, owned by the parents of Antonela Roccuzzo, the wife of the Paris Saint-Germain star and recent world champion.
They also left a handwritten note that reads: “Messi we are waiting for you. Javkin is a narco, he is not going to take care of you ”. Pablo Javkin is the mayor of Rosario, a city of one million inhabitants.
“The inclusion of the mayor is serious and generates a public impact, as well as the fact that it is Messi’s family, which gives international repercussions,” Baclini said.
After the attack, the supermarket opened normally. “We’re ok. We never moved with custody, we lead a normal life“said Celia Cuccittini, Messi’s mother, to a Rosario journalist who posted it on Twitter.
At night, President Alberto Fernández said in an interview with the C5N television channel that “organized crime has settled in Santa Fe.”
“Nowhere in Argentina does it have the dimension it has in Rosario,” pointed out and questioned whether drug trafficking is involved in the attack on Messi’s family supermarket.
“I don’t know how much drug trafficking is involved and what exists behind it,” he said.
The president also explained that the Army is being studied to work in the poorest neighborhoods of Rosario to make it difficult for its inhabitants to be recruited as drug trafficking soldiers. “Without weapons, under the control of the gendarmerie,” he clarified.
Messi returns to his native Rosario to spend the Christmas holidays every year and will return to Argentina soon for the friendlies that the Albiceleste will play on March 23 and 28 in Buenos Aires and Santiago del Estero
“Neighborhood gangs” –
According to security camera images, both attackers wore jeans, a hooded jacket, and a mask despite the high temperatures. In addition, the author of the bullets that pierced the metal shutter of the premises used gloves to trigger and manipulate the written sign without spelling errors.
These data drew attention since in some neighborhoods of Rosario it became common for gunmen to shoot against the front of houses, often missing the target, but they usually do it with their faces uncovered, according to the local press. In early January they even shot down the Criminal Justice Center in the center of the city.
Javkin said he doubts that it is a drug gang. “Let me hesitate. Here there is no request for money, there is no request for anything for the benefit of anyone. It is absolutely different. When there have been drug attacks, the messages are always determined with a threat to generate a benefit for someone who is detained, ”he said.
In Rosario there are “small criminal organizations that are gaining dimension: they begin with micro-trafficking of drugs and diversify into other criminal activities, one of which is shootings, extortion, usurpation,” Baclini explained.
Provincial deputy Carlos del Frade (left) attributed the increase in violence in the last 20 years to the existence of “neighborhood narco-police gangs,” and differentiated them from the big cartels “as at the time was the one in Medellín, for Colombia, or the one in Sinaloa for all of Mexico.”
In Rosario, reports of businesses that are victims of extortion attempts are increasing, often from prisons, according to the courts.
In a raid in the Coronda prison (center-east) 50 cell phones and 275 doses of drugs were kidnapped this Friday