Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tijuana journalist believed killed over stories about drug traffickers

Authorities are saying a murdered photojournalist in Tijuana was targeted because his killers suspected he’d written stories about narco leaders in his own neighborhood.

Margarito Martínez, who was shot three times in front of his Sánchez Taboada neighborhood house on January 17, had recently been put under protection because he’d received threats from a former police officer, the newspaper El Universal reported at the time.

Baja California Attorney General Iván Carpio Sánchez said Martínez’s attackers suspected him of publishing stories in the newspaper Zeta about the activities of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in Sánchez Taboada.

“They thought that Margarito Martínez could perhaps be the person behind certain publications, in various portals and media,” Carpio said. “He was not the one who wrote for publication; his activities were as a photojournalist.”

He added that the murderers suspected Martínez of leaking information on underground websites.

murdered Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martínez
Martínez’s killers also believed that the photojournalist maintained underground websites that reported on narco activity, Carpio said.

“They thought he was responsible for managing various clandestine information pages … Recently, we have seen incognito authors leak information on the identities and work of people who live in the criminal world,” Carpio said.

He named the alleged orchestrator of the murder as Christian Adán “N” and said the suspect had paid 40,000 pesos (US $1,870) to José Heriberto “N”  and Manuel “N” to carry out the killing. Carpio added that the Baja California Attorney General’s Office had obtained a video of the killing filmed by José Heriberto “N.”

Six journalists have been murdered this year, a list that doesn’t include the killings of a former television host in Mexico City and the founder of a now-defunct Tijuana news portal. Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to practice journalism, according to the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

Resolution for the murder of any journalist or activist in Mexico remains unlikely: impunity reigns in more than 90% of their murder cases, Deputy Human Rights Minister Alejandro Encinas said in December. In cases where the culprits were identified, almost half were local officials, he said.

With reports from Milenio

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