Veras, 52, who edited the local "Porã News" website, was dining with his family when two masked gunmen burst in and shot him 12 times. He died of his injuries after being rushed to a nearby hospital.
He specialized in covering local corruption, organized crime and cross-border drug trafficking, of which there is a vast amount in Pedro Juan Caballero and Ponta Porã, its sister city on the Brazilian side of the border.
He had been threatened many times since 2013 because of the subjects he covered and, in an interview for TV Record broadcast on 28 January, he said he had recently received new death threats in connection with his coverage of criminal gang activity in the border region.
“Léo Veras’s murder is a threat and attack on the right to information of the entire population in this border region blighted by corruption and organized crime, as well as on all of the region’s journalists,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the director of RSF’s Latin America bureau.
“We call on the local authorities to quickly identify the perpetrators and instigators of this execution-style murder and we urge the investigators to work on the assumption that it was linked to the victim’s journalism.”
As RSF reported at the time, a total of three Paraguayan journalists specializing in covering drug trafficking and organized crime on the border between Paraguay and Brazil – Edgar Pantaleón Fernández Fleitas, Pablo Medina, Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz and – were killed in the course of 2014 in connection with their journalism
Paraguay is ranked 99th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.