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'Lauchón' Viale: spies, police and a trial that promises scandals


Two members of the Halcón Group are tried for the crime of the former SIDE Counterintelligence agent. He suspects them of a message for Jaime Stiuso.

On Tuesday, March 21, an oral debate began in the hearing room of the Federal Oral Court No. 5 of San Martín, which promises intrigues, scandals, angry spies, poker-faced Buenos Aires policemen and a large arsenal of inmates and various



The first hearing had a very low profile, but it is difficult for things to stay that way because the trial deals with 

one of the strangest and most complex cases in recent years

: the murder of SIDE Counterintelligence agent Pedro "El Lauchón" Viale ( 59) in the early morning of July 9, 2013 at his home in La Reja.

Viale, an

experienced spy

 who reported directly to

Jaime Stiuso

, ended up with

11 bullets to the body

: one to the face, six to the chest, three to the left arm and one to the right hip.

He died in his own bathroom, cornered by a

squad from the Grupo Halcón

-of the Buenos Aires Police- that entered the place with a court order, in the framework of

a case for alleged drug trafficking


Gustavo Martínez (46) and Pedro Alegre (36), two of the Grupo Halcón police officers,

are accused of "aggravated homicide" for the crime of "Lauchón"


Without mysteries: they are the two that the ballistic tests determined that the projectiles that hit the body of the spy were fired.

Both have been free for years and on Tuesday, at the first hearing,

they refused to testify


The country house in La Reja, Moreno, where Viale was killed in 2013. Photo Archive

In addition to them in the case, eight more police officers were initially prosecuted, including commissioners José Armando Tsuruoka, Enrique Roberto Maldonado and Hugo Orlando Fasone, who led the operation.

But in 2015 the Chamber

dictated "lack of merit"

, a status that persists and that the lawsuit will try to reverse.

Viale's family is represented by the lawyers Santiago Blanco Bermúdez and Julián Subías, the prosecutor is Carlos Cearras and, curiously, the

Federal Investigation Agency

 (AFI, former SIDE), to which Pedro Viale belonged, was also accepted as part.

On paper, the trial is against two policemen, half a dozen hearings are scheduled and 47 witnesses are summoned.

The first of them will be María de Fátima Denis, widow of Viale.

The woman was with her husband when Grupo Halcón broke in.

She will declare on April 4, when the TOF 5 resumes the debate.

It is interesting in itself that judges Nada Flores Vega, María Claudia Morgese Martín and Héctor Omar Sagretti have agreed to make a reconstruction of the event (as requested by the parties) and even ordered a gigantography to be able to better understand what happened


dawn of the crime.

Viale's widow and son, showing the house where he was killed, in July 2013. File Photo

However, much more can happen.

Just one detail: Viale's lawyers asked to know how an open case ended to investigate

why Cristina Kirchner had saved a

two-page report on the circumstances surrounding the raid on Lauchón's house.

The documentation was seized in 2018 by Judge Claudio Bonadio in El Calafate.

It all has to do with Stiuso's theory that

Viale's death was a shot from elevation towards him

, a plan in which several of his enemies would have joined forces.

With that in mind, Viale's family requested - and even the court did not say anything about it -

the testimony of Stiuso and the former agents Alberto Mazzino and Roberto Saller


Also that of Héctor Icazuriaga, former Secretary of National Intelligence, and that of his deputy, Francisco Larcher.

The family's suspicions

"Plat, plate

," Viale yelled several times - who was the right hand of the then SIDE Director General of Operations, Jaime Stiuso - demanding that those who shot at him identify themselves.

All this while he himself fired back.

That morning of a national holiday, the federal judge of Tres de Febrero Juan Manuel Culotta had ordered

18 raids in the framework of a drug trafficking case


Wiretaps taken from a Buenos Aires policeman led to Viale, but in a rather confusing way.

According to the official version, from then on his house in La Reja, Moreno's district, entered the list of places to search and, his name, in the arrest warrants.

Former spy Antonio "Jaime" Stiuso.

The hypothesis of the lawsuit is that Viale's crime was a message for him.

Photo File


did not specifically order the Grupo Halcón to go

, that was decided by the Illicit Drug Investigations Superintendency under the charge of Commissioner Tsuruoka, a man of extreme confidence of the then head of the Buenos Aires, Hugo Matzkin. 

It is in this decision to send the specialized group at dawn and in the very origin of the Culotta cause, where the spy's family is based to maintain that everything, from minute one, was armed to assassinate



The short version: Viale was chosen by the leadership of the Police of the province of Buenos Aires to send a message to Stiuso, in revenge for the help given by SIDE to the Federal Police to arrest the drug trafficker Miguel Ángel "Mameluco" Villalba in August 2011, whom

they wanted as their own prey


Perhaps that is why the complaint requested the declaration in the trial of several heads of Dangerous Drugs of the Federal of that time.

The record of the arrest of drug lord Miguel Ángel "Mameluco" Villalba, in August 2011.

"It is so evident that it was a

settling of scores

that even AFI itself decided to assume the role of complainant in this process on the understanding that it was not a mere procedural error but rather a

direct attack on a agent

", says the letter by which Blanco Bermúdez and his partner Julián Subías requested at the time the elevation of part of the file to trial.

"A line of investigation has been opened referring to the reasons that led the Police of the province of Buenos Aires to act in the way in which it was done. Various officials of today's AFI (former SIDE) gave their testimony alluding to a kind of reckoning for the work carried out by Viale in a previous operation," says the presentation of the complaint.

Maybe it wasn't.

Or maybe it was like that and they don't reach the tests to advance.

There is also the possibility that

clues will emerge in the oral trial to deepen this hypothesis


So yes, if this happens, many will have to start running to get away from the grenade that was left without a fuse.


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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-25

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