Human remains were found Tuesday on the grounds of a property owned by Argentine trade unionist Marcelo Balcedo in Punta del Este, Uruguay, police sources have confirmed to AFP.
“Bone remains were found with clothing,” Joe López, the spokesman for the Maldonado Police Headquarters told the news agency.
Citing police sources, local media said the body had been “buried” for a while and was found in a “state of decomposition.” The body — the identity of which has yet to be reported — was exposed by the decrease in water levels resulting from drought in recent days.
Balcedo, 56, is a controversial labour figure. The former general secretary of the Minority and Educational Workers and Employees Union (SOEME) has been charged with money-laundering, smuggling, and arms-trafficking offences by Uruguayan proseuctors
After news of Tuesday's gruesome discovery, Balcedo's wife, Paola Fiege, posted on her Twitter account an image that shows the body on the shore of a pond at the family residence, as well as a police officer whose face was covered by a graphic that read “breaking news,”
“Now they don’t know what happened at the house! A body appeared!” she wrote.
Fiege is currently being held under house arrest. She faces allegations of "money-laundering and repeated crimes of moving contraband," in the same case investigating her husband's alleged crimes.
Balcedo was arrested by Interpol and the Uruguayan Police in early January 2018 in the department of Maldonado, in compliance with an international arrest warrant issued by an Argentine judge investigating him for money-laundering.
In that raid the union leader's luxurious mansion, with extensive terraced grounds on a hill of the Playa Verde resort, officers seized several firearms, ammunition, and about US$6million in cash in security chests, as well as high-end vehicles Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and Chevrolet Camaro, documents, and jewellery. It was also discovered that Balcedo had illegally acquired exotic animals.
Balcedo, who lives in Uruguay with his family, was the head of the SOEME union and the owner of the La Plata-based newspaper Hoy, which he was forced to close after his arrest.
In November 2018, Uruguayan prosecutor Alejandro Machado requested he be handed an 11-year jail term for his alleged crimes.