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Monday, May 3, 2021

Gunmen Kidnap and Kill a Crime Reporter from Sonora

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Benjamin Morales Hernandez, a crime reporter from Sonoyta, Sonora, was found dead this morning in an abandoned lot close to a highway heading to Caborca municipality. His assassins left a written message at the scene, but the text has not been revealed by authorities by press time.

Morales-Hernandez's sibling confirmed that he was kidnapped by armed men at approximately 6:00 p.m. the day before. He said he was forcibly taken from his home.

Morales-Hernandez worked as a crime reporter for Noticias Xonoidag, a Facebook page that covered news in Sonora. He often shared information about criminal activity in Sonoyta, Caborca, and Puerto Penasco, where drug-related violence has increased in recent months.

In addition to his crime reporting, Morales-Hernandez also covered political topics. His last live video he released was on May 1, when he spoke about the upcoming municipal and state elections in Sonora.

This Monday, May 3, was World Press Freedom Day. Mexico was celebrating this day amidst spiraling violence against journalists and ongoing impunity.

Last March, a crime reporter from Guaymas, Sonora, Pablo Felipe Romero Chavez, was kidnapped by suspected cartel members. His kidnapping came weeks after another reporter, Jorge Molontzín Centlal, went missing in Santa Ana, Sonora. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Background

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to exercise journalism as a profession. Though the figures are often conflicting, press freedom organizations around the world collectively agree that over 150 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. Dozens more remain disappeared.

Like in most criminal cases in Mexico, the vast majority of these incidents remain unsolved and with few perpetrators arrested and/or convicted.

Much of the violence in Sonora is driven by conflicts between several factions of the Sinaloa Cartel and local drug groups like La Plaza and/or the Caborca Cartel. This turf is a strategic location for drug trafficking given its proximity to the US state of Arizona.

For several months, criminal groups have been competing for control of the Sonoran municipalities of Caborca, Sonoyta, Pitiquito and Altar. They also want control of the Santa Ana-Magdalena-Ímuris corridor in the north and the Guaymas-Empalme-Cajeme corridor in the south.

Sources: El Sol de Mexico; Expreso; La Silla Rota; El Imparcial; La Jornada

11 comments:

  1. No Free press in Mexico

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  2. rip. sonora is turning deadlier every day...

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  3. No free press in Mexico, only propaganda. If you don't take the cartel line in the area, and mention them, you are done. Similar to Russia/China for the past couple of centuries. Control the media, control the minds.

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  4. I was planning to go to Puerto Penasco next weekend I change my mind!!!

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    Replies
    1. Good thinking you don't want to come back in a xoxo ice chest.

      Delete
  5. Freedom of the press is vital due to its role of information provided to citizens concerning public affairs and having the ability to cover every level of government…

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  6. Very sad. R.I.P

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  7. Cartel is the press

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  8. Back in October I remember leaving Puerto Penasco and just outside of Sonoyta there was a dead body tossed to the side of the road... Does anybody know if this is related to the current situation between Sinaloa and Sonora?

    ReplyDelete

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