Mexico arrests suspected mastermind of journalist murder

Relatives and friends mourn photojournalist Margarito Martinez, who was murdered in January 2022 in the Mexican border town of Tijuana

Guillermo Arias

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Mexican authorities have arrested a suspected drug trafficker accused of orchestrating the murder of a photojournalist in the border city of Tijuana in January, the government said Thursday.

The killing of Margarito Martinez – and the killing of a second journalist in Tijuana days later – sparked international condemnation and called on the government to step up protections for media workers.

The suspect, identified as “David N”, was arrested on Wednesday along with two other people in the town of Apodaca, in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, the deputy security minister told reporters. , Ricardo Mejia.

He is “the alleged intellectual author of the murder of Margarito” and leader of a cell of the former Arellano Felix drug cartel, Mejia told reporters, without revealing the alleged motive.

Remnants of the same cartel are also accused of murdering journalist Lourdes Maldonado less than a week later for complaining about drug trafficking in her Tijuana neighborhood.

According to the government, 13 journalists were killed in Mexico in 2022 – already one of the deadliest years for the country’s press.

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) puts the number at 14, of whom at least 10 have been killed as a result of their work.

More than 150 media workers have been murdered since 2000 in this Latin American country, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, according to RSF.

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