A paddle and bad recording of a bar-room conversation were all investigators had to go on when claims surfaced of killings deep in Brazil’s Javari Valley last year

When not selling breakfasts in this sleepy town on the western reaches of the Amazon, Algenor Costa fishes and hunts along the Jandiatuba River, as he has done for decades. Heading days upriver, he has often headed into the Javari Valley, a vast indigenous reserve where such activities are forbidden.

“That’s the town larder,” he says. “Everybody enters there to fish and hunt.”

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