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Three suspects were arrested Tuesday for their alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of veteran Tijuana reporter Lourdes Maldonado López.
Maldonado was shot to death in her car on Jan. 23 with a single gunshot to the face. She was the second journalist killed in a week’s time in the border city. On Jan. 17, Margarito Martínez Esquivel, who worked as a journalist and “fixer” assisting international outlets as well as for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times, was shot three times outside his Tijuana home.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed the arrests in his daily morning conference Wednesday morning, accompanied by his national secretary and sub-secretary of public safety.
López Obrador said the arrests were the result of a joint investigation that included the federal government and Baja California state investigators. “We are obliged to ensure that there is justice in the country and that impunity is not allowed,” he said.
The three individuals were arrested Tuesday in Baja California. The group allegedly arrived to Maldonado’s neighborhood in a taxi three hours before the shooting, lying in wait for the journalist to arrive at her home, according to Mexico’s sub-secretary of public safety, Ricardo Mejía.
Mejía called the suspects “presumed material co-authors,” but did not elaborate on the murder. He gave reporters a detailed account of the taxi’s movements, supported by video surveillance and photos, during the news conference. He did not mention any motive for the killing.
Rosa Icela Rodriguez, Mexico’s Secretary of Public Safety, said the arrests and search warrants were issued in an investigation that involved the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Security, the Navy, National Anti-Kidnapping Coordination and the National Intelligence Center.
Maldonado’s death ignited a national movement condemning violence against the press. She had publicly requested protection from the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, due to a legal issue she had with former governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla, who belongs to the same ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party as the president. In 2019, Maldonado told López Obrador “I fear for my life” at one of his daily press conferences.
Mexico is considered the deadliest country for the press outside of active war zones. Maldonado’s murder was one of at least four killings of journalists since the start of the year. There have been 148 reporters killed in Mexico since 2000, according to human rights group Article 19.
Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com