Los Mochis, Sinaloa - The bloody and broken corpse of a radio journalist known for his broadcasts on drug trafficking was found Saturday on a highway a few miles (kilometers) from the city where he was kidnapped, prosecutors said.
Linea Directa radio station reporter Jose Luis Romero was forced at gunpoint out of a Los Mochis restaurant on Dec. 30. A few hours later, gunmen killed the chief police investigator in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa who had started investigating the kidnapping.
Sinaloa assistant state prosecutor Rolando Bon Lopez said Romero’s body was found shoved into a black bag with his hands bound and broken, two bullets in his head and another in his shoulder.
Lopez said he believed, based on the condition of the corpse, that Romero was killed soon after he was kidnapped. Sinaloa is home to some of Mexico’s most powerful cartels.
The gruesome discovery marks the 59th journalist killed in Mexico since 2000, according to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission.
Last week, in the northern city of Saltillo, a major regional newspaper announced it would stop covering drug violence altogether after the body of reporter Valentin Valdes was found with a threatening message. Valdes had reported the arrests of suspected drug traffickers.
In Tijuana on Saturday, the government stepped up its fight against drug cartels, sending 860 more soldiers to the border city where violence has been rising in recent months.
Soldiers will work with local police and other law enforcement to man checkpoints and set up anonymous complaint centers, designed to allow residents to report crimes without fear of retaliation, the Defense Secretary’s office said in a press release.
Nearly 200 people have been killed in the city just south of San Diego, California, since Dec. 1.
Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, bordering El Paso, Texas, have been plagued with drug violence as rival gangs battle for control of valuable trafficking corridors.
Last week’s arrest of Teodoro “El Teo” Simental, Tijuana’s notoriously savage cartel boss, has raised concerns about retaliation and other attacks as cartels try to fill the leadership void.
The deployment follows an announcement Friday that 2,000 federal police are being sent to Ciudad Juarez to lead the fight against traffickers there. Those officers will coordinate the efforts of local police and 6,000 soldiers.
More than 15,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on cartels three years ago, including more than 2,500 people in Ciudad Juarez last year.