The Associated Press
Mexico City - More than 15,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on cartels three years ago.
While the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana have seen much of the violence, Sinaloa state is Mexico’s drug-smuggling heartland and is the birthplace of the leadership of four of the six major cartels.
Often, victims are tortured and mutilated, in an attempt to intimidate rivals, officials and others who might represent a threat to the cartels.
Often, it works.
In the northern city of Saltillo, a major regional newspaper announced it would stop covering drug violence altogether after the body of a reporter was found Friday outside a motel with a threatening message. Valentin Valdes, 28, had recently written about the arrests of suspected drug traffickers.
"As of today we will publish zero information related to drug trafficking to avoid situations like the one we went through today,” an editor of the newspaper Zocalo told The Associated Press. Tellingly, he asked that his name not be published.
Many Mexican news media have stopped covering anything that might be associated with drugs, or limit themselves to reporting on government news releases. At least 17 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 in direct reprisal for stories, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
Valdes had written about the Dec. 29 arrests at the Marbella Motel of five alleged members of the Gulf drug cartel. He also covered the arrests Wednesday of five others who stole the surveillance tapes from the motel.