Alleged mastermind of photojournalist's murder arrested in Mexico
Mexican authorities have arrested an alleged drug trafficker accused of masterminding the murder of a photojournalist in the northern border city of Tijuana in January, the government said Thursday.
The killing of Margarito Martinez -- and the murder of a second journalist in Tijuana days later -- triggered international condemnation and calls for the government to step up protection of media workers.
The suspect, identified as "David N," was detained on Wednesday with two other people in the town of Apodaca in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia told reporters.
He is the "alleged intellectual author of Margarito's murder" and head of a cell of the once-powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel, Mejia told reporters, without revealing the suspected motive.
Remnants of the same cartel are also accused of murdering reporter Lourdes Maldonado less than a week later for complaining about drug dealing in her neighborhood of Tijuana. In 2019, Maldonado told Mexico's president: "I fear for my life."
Guillermo Arias, whose photographs chronicle life and death in the streets of Tijuana, worked with Margarito Martinez for many years.
He recalled the painful experience of covering the murder of his friend and fellow journalist. "His daughter arrived and asked me not to photograph her dad's body," Arias told CBS News.
At least 15 media workers have been killed in Mexico in 2022 -- already one of the deadliest years yet for the country's press. Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said at least 10 of the journalists were killed because of their work.
More than 150 media workers have been murdered since 2000 in the Latin American country, one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, according to RSF.
Other journalists killed in Mexico in 2022
Earlier this month, prosecutors in the southern state of Guerrero said that journalist Fredid Román was gunned down in the state capital, Chilpancingo.
Also this month, journalist Ernesto Méndez was among four people killed inside a bar in central Mexico.
In June, journalist Antonio de la Cruz was shot to death in northeastern Mexico as he was leaving his house with his 23-year-old daughter. His daughter later died from wounds suffered in the attack that killed her father
In May, two colleagues at a news site were shot to death in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The Veracruz State Prosecutor's Office said it was investigating the killings of Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi and Sheila Johana García Olivera, the director and a reporter, respectively, of the online news site El Veraz in Cosoleacaque.
In March, prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan said reporter Armando Linares was shot to death at a home in the town of Zitacuaro. His killing came six weeks after the slaying of a colleague, Roberto Toledo, from the same outlet, Monitor Michoacan. It was Linares who announced Toledo's death Jan. 31 in a video posted to social media.
In early March, gunmen killed Juan Carlos Muñiz, who covered crime for the online news site Testigo Minero in the state of Zacatecas.
Jorge Camero, the director of an online news site who was until recently a municipal worker in the northern state of Sonora, was killed in late February.
In early February, Heber López, director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot to death in the southern state of Oaxaca.
Reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot to death inside her car in Tijuana on Jan. 23. In a news conference in 2019, Maldonado Lopez told Mexico's president she feared for her life
Reporter José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz on Jan. 10
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