On Wednesday, July 6, Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab revealed that Maxiorisol “Mayi” Cumare was the intellectual author of the murder of her husband, sociologist and Venezuelan revolutionary leader Carlos Lanz. Cumare allegedly paid $8,000 to Glen Castellanos—one of her lovers—whose testimony was vital in the clarification of the case, who testified that two assassins were hired to carry out the crime. After Lanz’s muder, his body was dismembered and his remains were fed to pigs in order to destroy evidence. Attorney General Saab also announced that there have been 13 detentions, with more possibly coming in the following days.
In a press conference lasting almost two hours at the Public Ministry headquarters, Attorney General Saab explained that Mayi Cumare gave $8,000 to Glen Castellanos—who had previously served jail time in the Tocorón and Punta Ayala prisons after being convicted of bank robbery and vehicular theft—so that he would hire, through a criminal gang leader, two assassins.
On August 8, 2020, the day of Carlos Lanz’s disappearance, a friend of his, Tito Viloria, allegedly convinced him to leave his house that day to attend an “urgent meeting of the militias in Mariara,” to discuss how to prevent a fake military insurrection. The gunmen intercepted them on their way to the meeting, tied Lanz up and took him to the La Fortaleza farm in Cojedes state, where Lanz was taken to a grave and killed while still standing, with two shots to his head. Later, the hitmen and the farm foreman dismembered Lanz’s body and fed the pieces to the pigs in the farm, as a way of disappearing the remains, which was one of Mayi Cumare’s demands.
Attorney General Saab remarked during the press conference how right-wing groups along with extreme left-wing ones constructed a smear campaign to try to present the disappearance of Carlos Lanz as an alleged state crime, and some even proposed to file a claim at the International Criminal Court.
When consulted on this issue, Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza, editor of Orinoco Tribune, stated, “Just a few weeks after the terrible incident, some far-right groups, but mainly left-wing groups related to the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) actively participated, via social media platforms, in this campaign trying to—out of the blue—connect the disappearance of Carlos Lanz with an alleged political disappearance, even though Lanz was a hardcore Chavista committed until the last moment of his life to the Bolivarian Revolution.”
Much of the explanation presented by the Attorney General comes from the confession of Glen Castellanos, who took advantage of the benefit of denunciation, along with posterior criminal procedures that corroborated his statements. The Attorney General presented an eight-minute video with Castellanos’ testimony.
So far, 13 people have been arrested for the abduction and subsequent murder of Carlos Lanz, some as subjects of interest and others as accused. “The investigations continue and we are not ruling out the possibility of new detainees,” Saab explained.
Investigation took a turn
The Attorney General indicates that, over the last few weeks, the investigation took a new direction after the investigators realized that a woman who worked as a domestic help for Carlos Lanz’s family, called Maryori Acevedo, had decided to change residence after 20 years of living in the Lanz household. “That immediately caught our attention,” said Saab, that Acevedo had moved from Maracay, Aragua state, where Lanz lived, to Mene Grande in Zulia state.
On June 27, the investigating team was able to locate her. When interviewed, Acevedo provided valuable information. She reported a relationship of extreme and manifest hostility between Carlos Lanz and his wife, Mayi Cumare. She also revealed that she was surprised by “several extramarital partners” that Mayi Cumare had, two in particular: Óliver Medina and Glen Castellanos. The latter had been imprisoned for vehicular theft, bank robbery and related crimes, and had served jail time in Tocorón and Puente Ayala prisons.
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Acevedo added that another man, Darwin Zambrano, who had a romantic relationship with Alieska Gil, Carlos Lanz’s stepdaughter, after breaking up with her, decided to reveal a series of acts by Mayi Cumare against Carlos Lanz, including physical and verbal humiliation, from her against him. “This made us conclude that she [Mayi Cumare] has the psychological profile of a person who suffers from borderline personality disorder [revealed by a psychiatric analysis], and is a highly unstable person, with extreme social narcissism, aggressiveness and impulsivity, who can commit crimes,” stated Saab.
Glen Castellanos, lover of Mayi Cumare, confesses
In this way, the Public Ministry was able to find and interrogate Glen Castellanos. “We managed to make him become an informer by offering him procedural guarantees after admitting the facts,” said Tarek William Saab. Castellanos is a witness, and admitted to being a direct participant in the crime.
The investigation took a 180° turn after Castellanos’ statement given last Saturday. “In his declaration, Glen confessed that he himself participated in the murder of Carlos Lanz by order of Mayi Cumare, who believed that they had the perfect alibi blaming mercenaries from Israel and the United States,” explained Attorney General Saab.
The attorney added that Mayi Cumare gave Glen Castellanos $8,000 for the abduction and murder of Carlos Lanz, according to Glen’s confession. Of these, $5,000 went to a gangster from the Tocorón prison and two assassins, and he had $3,000 for himself as the organizer.
“The body should never be found,” was one of Mayi Cumare’s orders to Glen Castellanos in the negotiation.
Corruption: one of the motives
According to Glen Castellanos, “Mayi was fed-up in the way Carlos Lanz hindered her corruption deals.”
The Attorney General explained that Mayi Cumare handled a lot of money, budgeted items and additional credits as the regional director of INCES Aragua (National Institute for Educational Cooperation, a State entity that provides training in trades and short careers). He pointed out that they had about 18 vendors, and Glen Castellanos was one of them.
Tito Viloria was another of the suppliers frequently appointed by Mayi Cumare at INCES. He seems to have been the main supplier of food, t-shirts, hats, office equipment, and gave Mayi Cumare a 20% commission for the contracts he received.
Zaida Suárez, partner of Tito Viloria, was also detained.
The Attorney General pointed out that Tito Viloria was Mayi Cumare’s figurehead, and many assets in his name were actually her property, including Finca La Fortaleza, a farm located in an inhospitable place near El Baúl in the state of Cojedes.
Farm in Cojedes inspected
Saab stated that investigation teams visited the aforementioned farm in Cojedes with a canine team specialized in searching for human remains. In a pit in a paddock, traces of blood were found after testing them with luminol, a chemical agent used by police forces to detect the presence of organic fluids, even if they were washed away.
RELATED CONTENT: Where is Carlos Lanz? A One-Year-Old Question
In the raid they found a shirt. Glen Castellanos stated that the day Carlos Lanz disappeared, he was wearing a blue plaid shirt. Tests are being done to definitively confirm if the shirt found in the raid belonged to Carlos Lanz.
Saab explained that they had also identified the foreman of the farm, Elis Becerra or “El Caliche,” [who is] of Colombian nationality. Saab described him as someone with little human empathy, who uses drugs, and Glen Castellanos described him as someone who is very dangerous.
According to the Attorney General, on August 8, the day of Lanz’s kidnapping and disappearance, Tito Viloria deceived him by telling him that “there was a meeting in Mariara with militiamen because there is a conspiracy underway against the government.”
“We had corroborated that, starting at 8:30 in the morning, Professor Carlos Lanz left his house. There is a gap of one hour in which none of the interviewees could tell us what happened in that hour. There were great contradictions among all the interviewees. We used a polygraph, where almost everyone was lying or hiding information,” said Saab.
Mayi Cumare stated that she had supposedly left the house before 8:30 in the morning and left Carlos Lanz sleeping there, and that her daughter, when she woke up at 11:30, did not see him at home. However, Saad explained that there are two videos showing that Mayi Cumare left the house after 9:30 in the morning, contradicting her story.
“They all traveled by car, first Tito Viloria with Carlos Lanz in a Mitsubishi Lancer,” continued Saab. “Then, in a blue Explorer SUV there were two hitmen, and behind, in a Ford Fiesta was Glen Castellanos. Upon reaching the height of Yagua, the gunmen got out of the Explorer, intercepted the car where Tito Viloria was with Carlos Lanz, and with weapons in hand they got Lanz out of the car in cold blood, gagged him and threw him on the hood of the Explorer, bound for La Fortaleza farm.”
The assassins have been identified as José Pinto, alias Bombero Osa, already captured, and Pedro Basketball, “already identified and in the process of being captured,” Saab said.
Glen Castellanos, in order to have an alibi, returned to INCES Maracay together with Mayi Cumare, where he had the idea of carrying out a cleaning operation in full radical quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After that, Castellanos moved to Finca La Fortaleza. He arrived at 4:00 in the afternoon. He found that, in one of the houses, sitting on a block, Carlos Lanz was handcuffed and gagged. The two assassins were there, in the presence of Tito Viloria. Elis Becerra, the foreman, was also there.
Lanz died standing up
The assassins allegedly told Lanz, “Okay old man, get ready, we’re going to go.” They told him, “Kneel down, we’re going to kill you,” described Saab. Carlos Lanz allegedly replied, “No, I’m not going to kneel down, if you’re going to kill me, you’ll kill me standing up.” There he was shot twice at close range in the right temple.
Saab added that Elis Becerra had prepared a grave that was in the left paddock, adjacent to the neighboring farm, but they decided not to leave him there. Carlos Lanz was thrown into the grave—there the luminol tested positive, there were traces of blood and brain matter, said Saab. But they decide to undress the corpse, place it on a 3-meter bed or plastic sheet in the back of a pigsty, and was fed to nine pigs.
According to the certified and signed indictment of Glen Castellanos, finally, “with the worst teachings of the casas de pique of Colombia,” the two assassins and the foreman, using machetes and knives, dismembered the body of Carlos Lanz, beginning with the arms and hands, legs and feet, then the trunk and finally the head, the pieces were thrown step by step for 45 minutes into the pigsty, so that the pigs would make the mortal remains of Carlos Lanz dissapear.
Among other details, Glen Castellanos said in the video that he keeps an ornament, a “small replica sword of Bolívar” that Carlos Lanz wore, and Glen kept it as a supposed war trophy.
Glen Castellanos said in the video that the version that Lanz had been kidnapped by Venezuelan generals and foreign powers was devised when seeing the repercussion that the case generated in the media.
Tarek William Saab also explained that he questioned Tito Viloria, a Trostskyist militant and former union leader, and asked him who he thought had kidnapped Carlos Lanz. Viloria had assured him that the disappearance was an “abduction carried out by foreign powers, from the state of Israel to present it to the state of Canada” as “revenge for the kidnapping of William Niehous,” an event that occurred in 1976, in which US businessman Niehous—who was finally rescued alive—had been kidnapped by Carlos Lanz, along with other participants. Lanz served prison time for having allegedly participated in the kidnapping during his guerrilla time. Niehous died in 2013 in the United States.
Saab stated that this is an “alibi that they thought was perfect, but for us it never had even 1% credibility for reasons that are not worth describing. But it is incredible that this man maintains that version, two years later.”
The Public Ministry has processed by way of necessity and urgency to Court Four of the Caracas Metropolitan Area the arrest warrants for Maxiorisol “Mayi” Cumare, Glen Castellanos, Tito Viloria, Elis Becerra, José Antonio Pinto Moreno, Hely Enrique Pinto Moreno and Zaida Suárez. Darwin Alejandro Zambrano, Oliver Medina Sánchez, Maryuri Acevedo Durán, Diego Atehortua Tamayo, Alyeska Berenice Gil Cumare (daughter of Mayi Cumare) and Abya Yala Esperanza Lanz Cumare (daughter of Mayi Cumare and Carlos Lanz) have also been charged.
Carlos Lanz was the father of three children: Alex and Nelarys, from his first marriage to Trina Manrique, and Abya Yala, from his second marriage to Mayi Cumare.
Por que desde siempre mi papá será mi heroe:
Mi padre murio de pie (segun declara el sicario), sin ser complaciente a la corrupcion.
Mi heroe siempre nos enseñó tener moral y digndad.
Papá siempre será mi superheroe de las caricaturas de Rius que me regalaba cuando niño.
— Alex Lanz (@alanz) July 6, 2022
The attorney general pointed out that he has kept in constant contact with Alex Lanz, who “provided very important information on the psychological profile and actions of Mayi Cumare apart from marital and human infidelity towards Carlos Lanz.”
The other family circle, linked to Mayi Cumare, obstructed justice “in a systematic, continuous, well-orchestrated and well-organized manner to torpedo and hinder investigations,” said Saab.
About the “Search Committee”
The Attorney General also stated that the so-called “Carlos Lanz Search Committee” hindered the investigations.
“We always said that the disappearance [of Carlos Lanz] was voluntary [not forced disappearance caused by the State], and strangely enough, the so-called Carlos Lanz Search Committee expressed its anger because, in public appearances and online publications, we maintained that Carlos Lanz’s disappearance was voluntary,” Saab explained. “There are no elements that could point to that [forced disappearance]. Prior to his disappearance, there were no violent acts—breaking doors, physical attacks, none of that had happened. He went out, he closed the door of his house, he went through the lock twice, he had left home with his weapon that he normally carried.“
“He is not going to go out in a full radical quarantine with just anyone; he had to be with someone extremely trustworthy, as he actually was,” Saab said.
“That made the so-called Search Committee very angry,” Saab added. “A line began to appear parallel to our investigation, that it was a violent kidnapping, that foreign mercenaries participated, but without presenting any evidence.”
Saab also decried that the committee planned to take the case to the International Criminal Court, to “criminally join, simulating punishable acts, without having evidence” to the “infamous chorus of political sectors” that attack the country.
The Attorney General also pointed out that President Nicolás Maduro personally took interest in the case, “has called and has met with us” from the first moment.
Saab added that he himself has directed the investigations. “From Saturday until today, I have personally interviewed the vast majority of the intellectual authors and the assassins, because the case deserved it,” he said.
(Alba Ciudad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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