Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Full Length Video "Reportero": 74 Journalists Killed in Mexico in 11 Years

 Borderland Beat

This documentary was released yesterday on POV.  It is a factual, in depth account of the danger of narco reporting in Mexico.  Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz is Mexico born and immigrated to the US as a young child. 
Tiring of the same type of reporting on  the subject he wanted more, in his words; " “there was just body count journalism, I kept hungering for a deeper story”. ..and deep this is, covering journalists of Zeta Magazine, the assassination attempt on Blanco and the successful killing of Francisco Ortiz with his small children in the car.  By interviews, footage and photos the journalists give the accounts of high profile incidents and criminal events. 

Such as an account that will have you on the edge of your seat, when Sergio receives a call from a person saying he had something for him.  It was a CD and when Sergio played it he was jolted by disbelief and fear.  It was the interrogation of a Sinaloa leader of the Mexicali cell, face sweaty and obvious fear as he answered questions and gave information that exposed many high profile officials.  [magazine cover is at left]

Footage  recounts what they decided to do with the CD and the process.  Much of the film has footage of the events spoken about.

There is a link to the full length video at the bottom of my post.  if you wish to skip the post and go directly to the film, keep watching beyond the credits to view the interview with the filmmaker.......Paz, Chivis

In 1980, the Mexican media didn't look favorably upon reporters like Jesús Blancornelas who challenged the party line. After being fired by five newspapers, Blancornelas took matters into his own hands, founding Zeta and initially managing it from the United States. The paper, owned by journalists, attracted other talented journalists, including Sergio Haro, who first joined as a photographer in 1987.
Héctor Félix Miranda, Zeta's co-founder, became one of its most popular columnists, writing humorously about the foibles of Mexico's politicians and social elite, using tips from readers happy to see these once-untouchable figures brought down to earth.
 "My work in Zeta is proof that freedom of expression exists in Mexico," said Miranda. "That others don't practice it is their own fault." It was assumed there would be some pushback, but what happened was horrific and unexpected:
On April 20, 1988, Miranda was shot dead by thugs who worked for Jorge Hank, son of one of Mexico's most powerful families. Hank was never investigated and would later be elected mayor of Tijuana.
Gradually, the government's hold over the media loosened. But Zeta was developing a far more deadly enemy. By the early 1990s, drug trafficking was becoming a major industry along Mexico's border with the United States.
Cartels generated huge sums of money and used it to fund lavish lifestyles, recruit a revolving network of dealers and pay off police and government officials. The drug gangs' violent rule enveloped the entire border region. "As journalists, we couldn't ignore this real problem," says Zeta co-director Adela Navarro, "so Zeta began to investigate narco-trafficking."
Taking a stand against the traffickers had its price. In 1997, Blancornelas was ambushed by 10 gunmen working for a cartel that had moved from Sinaloa to Tijuana to traffic shipments of cocaine into the United States. Blancornelas survived only because, in a moment of poetic justice, shrapnel from one of the gunmen's bullets ricocheted and struck the gang's lead assassin in the eye, killing him.
In 1997, Haro left Zeta to found another independent newspaper, Siete Días, with Benjamín Flores. Flores was an ambitious reporter, and the paper took an aggressive stance against local drug lords.

 "Benjamín was very young, but grounded," says Haro. "Daring and audacious. But given the kind of reporting he was doing, I thought Benjamín didn't understand what he was getting into." Flores was murdered just days after his 29th birthday; his killer was apprehended but set free by Mexico's judiciary.
Haro retaliated through the press. "We mocked [the killer's] release, with photos of all the kilos he was trafficking," he recalls. A couple of days later, Haro's own life was threatened. Guards were appointed to protect him, while at Zeta, Blancornelas employed more than 20 bodyguards.
In a testament to how bad things have gotten in Mexico, Reportero features a spokesman from a car armoring service that offers customers varying levels of protection. "Level four can withstand an AK-47, and level five can withstand armor-piercing AR-15s," he says impassively.
"If you want to protect yourself or your family from threat of kidnapping, we recommend level four, four-plus or five. Six or seven are for someone who . . . feels someone wants to kill him."

Francisco Ortiz
Blancornelas decided that Zeta's most explosive reporting should no longer carry a byline, but reporter Francisco Ortiz insisted on keeping his in a report — complete with names and photos — on organized crime figures who had received fake IDs from the attorney general's office. Ortiz was gunned down in 2005, moments after he buckled his two children into the back seat of his car. Going forward, articles with sensitive information would carry a collective byline reading simply, "Investigation by Zeta."

Sergio received a death threat the morning after this headline
 On Nov. 23, 2006, Blancornelas, indomitable founder of Zeta, passed away not from a bullet, but from stomach cancer, and Navarro took the reins. To this day, beginning every Thursday evening, the 92-page weekly is printed just outside of San Diego and trucked to Tijuana.

In 2012, Zeta marked its 32nd year of publishing truth to very deadly power. "Only the gunmen who killed Héctor Félix were arrested," says Navarro. "The mastermind is still on the loose. The case of Blancornelas' attack remains unsolved. The crime against Francisco Ortiz in 2004 also remains unsolved. . . . The criminals have impunity. Impunity to kill whomever they want." But Zeta continues.

And after 25 years of reporting, the deaths of three of his colleagues and threats against his own life, Haro knows he has every reason to walk away. "It's easier to look the other way and not cover this issue," he says in Reportero.

"But in the end you would become another accomplice. For the rest of my life, I only want to be a reporter." He writes every week, telling the stories of the residents of northern Mexico during this wave of unprecedented violence.
David Barron Corona:The shooting attack against Blancornelas was prompted by an investigative piece in Zeta describing how the Arellano Félix cartel recruited gunmen from violent street gangs in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood. The leader of the Barrio Logan assassins was a veteran gangster named David Barron Corona, who earned the Arellano Félix family’s loyalty by saving two of the brothers from an ambush. Blancornelas published an article identifying Barron Corona as one of the top cartel enforcers.

A few weeks later, Barron Corona and a team of assassins ambushed Blancornelas while he was on his way to work. The assassination attempt failed only because Barron Corona was killed by one of his own gunmen when a bullet ricocheted and struck him in the eye.

Died with his finger lingering on the trigger


Link to full length video at POV HERE
Sources:  POV at KPBS, Street Gangs, photos Zeta and screenshots from film


  1. @ Chivis and other BB reporters..
    Do you ever fear that you might be next?
    I know you guys do a good job hiding your identities, but do these thoughts go through your mind?




    1. So why did you publish as anonymous

  3. i know that most of the pain is being endured by Mexico but i am an American on the US side of the border.
    we Americans are not doing enough to prevent the events that are going on in Mexico from happening here.
    please BB reporters keep a close eye on border news stations they tell a wealth of intel about the movements of drugs, activities of cartel operatives and local state and federal corruption. here is one more to add to the wall of shame.
    ICE agent: Former DA investigator to be indicted
    Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 11:07 am | Updated: 1:58 pm, Tue Jan 8, 2013.

    Posted on January 8, 2013

    Ildefonso Ortiz

    by Ildefonso Ortiz

    McALLEN — A former criminal investigator will be indicted in connection with an ICE surveillance operation that was marred by the shooting of an agent last summer near Hargill, according to another ICE agent’s testimony.

    Aida Palacios was assigned to white-collar crimes and hot checks at the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office until she resigned from her post in 2012, District Attorney Rene Guerra said.

    During a Dec. 24 detention hearing for a confidential informant whose tip spurred ICE agents to the Hargill area in July, Jean-Paul Reneau, a case agent with the Homeland Security Investigations division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testified that the informant’s co-defendants in the drug case — in addition to other individuals who had yet to be indicted — pointed fingers at the informant, identified as Julio Armando Davila.

    Reneau testified that one of the individuals who was named but has not been indicted is Palacios, whom he described as Davila’s girlfriend or ex-girlfriend.

    “She is not on this indictment but she will be indicted,” the HSI agent said during his testimony late last month.

    The Monitor’s efforts to reach Palacios for comment were not successful as of press time Monday.

    As an informant, Davila had led HSI agents to marijuana seizures totaling some 600 pounds, but further investigation showed that the former bail bondsman was actually stealing drug loads from other groups of smugglers, Reneau said during his Christmas Eve testimony.

    “Subsequent to the shooting, we learned that the defendant and four others were planning to steal the load of narcotics that the agents were surveiling,” Reneau said in testimony.


    HSI agent Kelton Harrison was shot about 3:30 a.m. July 3 after a vehicle pulled up behind him as he was performing surveillance from inside his parked vehicle, court records show. Arriving behind Harrison just before the shots were Pedro Alvarado and his sons, who were 16 and 18 at the time.

    Allegedly they opened fire on the agent and, when he tried to flee, followed him and kept shooting. Harrison was shot in the midsection, but he has recovered.

    At the time of the initial arrests and hearings, the Alvarados claimed to have fired in self-defense because the agent was in an unmarked vehicle by their property, which had previously been the target of home invasions.

    Pedro Alvarado and his older son, Arnoldo Alvarado, remain in federal custody pending trial. The younger Alvarado is in juvenile detention pending the outcome of his case.

    The Alvarado men have not been charged in connection with the drug investigation.


    HSI agents charged Davila and four co-defendants on Dec. 11 in connection with the initial drug investigation. Davila, Rene Garcia, Arnoldo Davila, Miguel Angel Romo and David Olivarez have been charged each with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, court records show.

    Both Davilas and Romo were denied bond and remain in federal custody. Garcia is not in custody and has an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Olivarez is scheduled to go before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos this morning for a detention hearing.
    a commenter adds
    Jaime Garza · Top Commenter · Works at Hidalgo County
    It's no surprise that Julio Armando Davila has an informant a thief and a pseudo cop and, Sheriff Lupe Trevino has always known about it. He was also a campaign donor to the Sheriff during the reelection and Sheriff Trevino had knowledge that the donations given to him came from dirty money. Julio Davila also worked very close with Fabian Rodriguez a former Deputy now under federal indictment. Sheriff Trevino also had him working very close with crime stoppers and would also let this idiot carry a firearm knowing that he has been a pseudo cop with a criminal history.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. That really sucks, hope you guys can remain safe and keep informing the world (those that care) about the insanity and carnage that is really going on there...
    I've been to Mexico at least 15 times and it is an amazing place!
    WIll never stop visiting!
    Just won't visit the Northern states now...

  7. Barron the 1%'er......RIP.

  8. Its nice to hear ppl that care about whats going on in Mexico.I havnt seen positive comments in so long. I appreciate all the ppl that have good things to say and care about my ppl in Mexico God bless you all

  9. Those piks from that dead guy all the way in the bottom was from Logan Heights gang in San Diego and was recruited as a Sicario for the Tijuana Cartel runned by Arellano Felix. He was one of his main bodyguards and safely escorted him out of danger when Chapos and his men barged into a Club he was in and tried to assasinate him. Thanks to him Arellano Felix escaped the emboscada. He said he needed more guys like him to work for him and thats how he got his logan heights gang involved. That guy had balls. Just letting you guys know since theres no info on him on this post. Atte Cesar El Guero Pesado o "El 15"

    1. He got smoked, real badass ...jajaja by his own guys bullets

  10. I added info of Barron, there is info in the film, he is not the main character of this story.

    I would debate your evaluation of Barron being brave "having balls". A guy with a gun is not so brave, especially when killing unarmed priests and newspaper reporters...

    I say it is the priests and journalists in Mexico who defy narcos and speak and write the truth.

    That is having balls.

  11. The government used cartels to murder journalists who pointed out corruption for a long time. Now the beast has morphed. The government is a cartel. The corporations are cartels. And the old school cartels swell from poverty driven misery.

  12. Also, Logan Heights are the ones that gun down the cardinal in Guadalajara when they got intel that El Chapo was riding out of the airport.

  13. David Baron was an "Original Gangster" from San Diego Logan Heights Gang. More details can be found on You Tube. Look under " Gangland -The Assassins"

    1. Fuck him, hes an original pussy! Thats what he is!

  14. Chivis. Anon.7:12 asked you "if you have fear". You epitomize the spirit that Anabel Hernández, a Mexican journalist referred to when she said "I want to live, but to live in silence is just another way to die." Good post Chivis.

  15. Chivas- i watched this story on POV.SCARY and SAD. I PRAY FOR FIR EVERONE at BB..
    .Hope all is well Chavis. Texas Grandma.

  16. I agree. Barron was a coward. Have you ever heard these Logan Heights low lifes talk on Gangland. They're all fat sloppy third grade educated morons who are proud of their evilness. Seeing Barron lie there in the street bleeding out in the fetal position is not enough justice.

  17. Than you for the kind comments of concern, but we are not in the same league as these brave people. They are brave beyond comprehension, rejecting anonymity as they conduct their amazing work. I often say Mexico needs heroes, these ARE heroes. They know their life may be taken any day, anytime. Some of them have Their children safely tucked away in the US which is the only concession of privacy that I am aware of.

    That said I never thought bloggers would become targets, as we know last year a few were killed in Tamps, but the one who was a true narco blogger Nena was careless and easy to track, none of can ever say for sure or 100% but we are pretty safe, my exposure is from my humanitarian work and this year my therapy centers were destroyed and my work disrupted in one city. We are fearful of reconstructing. I am sure if they knew what I did on the side I would be a fast target. But they don't.

    Zeta mag reporters are not only brave they are analytical in their approach, thinking and rethinking their every step, such as continuing to print in SoCal instead of Mexico though in Mex it would be many times cheaper. They stick with the safest approach.

    But one thing I wondered is the trucks are clearly marked with ZETA as they return to Mex with the mags each week, seems like narcos could really send a message by killing many of their workers, it would be easy, so I am thinking perhaps narcos have decided to look the other way at this time.

    I don't know

  18. DD..
    Great minds think alike, seeing your post of REPORTERO in forum motivated me to finish mine.

    I will never forget the day you wrote me and stated you were "happy to discover" I was who I claimed to be, after you found articles written about my work. My blood drained, I was fortunate that you are one of the good guys. I changed my email account etc that very day. I know you think I am not careful enough, and I am beginning to agree with you. But I am grateful that you were the one that made me hold certain info close to the vest....Paz Civis

  19. How can this be? Guns are illegal in MExico!

  20. Oh shit look at everyone patting themselves on the back,,,from the comfort and security of their homes and offices?
    The chattering middle class,and ever so knowledgeable about violence and"having balls"
    Pretentious as fuck,,,

  21. Im glad that D. Barron a.k.a "C.H" and the arellanos and narco jrs. Are all dead or in a cage where does animals belong..

  22. I understand where your coming from Chivis but heres were your wrong. Killin an unarmed priest? That hit was for El Chapo. They thought Chapo Guzman was inside that marquez but instead later they found out after going to their safe house that they had assasinated the priest. They didnt do it on purpose orders are orders you have to follow when dealing with these kind of people. Lile i said Barron had Balls, not anyone can take charge of AFO protection. Also not many can kill and kill most people are weak minded. It takes a strong mind to not let that shit get to your head, Trust me i aint no Virgin. Rip Barron. ATTE Cesar El Guero Pesado o "El 15"

  23. Rest in piss el guero punetas

  24. I stand firmly by what I said.
    But I understand why you say what you do. Our perspective is different.

    I will say again, thugs have brave is that killing unarmed people? doing so for someone else makes him an idiot, dumb as they come or nuts. probably all three.

    When young people stop worshipping and admiring gangsters, thugs and killers perhaps they will dream of better for themselves. this type of hero worship is only done by those who think life has nothing better for them.

    I would crawl in a hole in despair if that is how my children and grandchildren thought. My grandfather and grandmother were migrants in the fields of cali central valley, so was my father for 5 years, but he did not settle or hide behind excuses and never allowed us to either.

    Find real heroes to admire. You have said nothing about the heroes in this story, those who want nothing but truth, who love their country and know that a better Mexico for their children means spreading the truth....

    your heros, "having balls" means killing innocents. to say he did it for another makes it worse, a bigger evil. If my identity was known I would be a fast target, for what? for speaking truth? For not playing by their rules? I have been a humanitarian for children in Mexico for almost a decade why is my life expendable for saying truth?

    I think the Zeta photo of his blood pouring from his about to be dead body is poetic justice. I give it a standing "O" and the fact his own man was the cause all the better it made me smile.

    So I say to you, a man with a gun killing unarmed reporters and priests and innocents are cowardly bastards.

  25. Chivis,your a woman first off,matter of fact violence is alien to you,extreme violence has no part in your thought process,as many on here.We are what we are,human beings.As for Cesar El Guero Pesado o "El 15"i understand completely what he is saying.It takes more than you know to plan,and carry out murder(hypothetically speaking)Most here could not even contemplate stalking and actually killing someone with single-mindedness to make sure they are dead.But it is always sad when innocent people are hurt,of course it is,violence,hate and anger is in our nature and as valid as love.
    Miranda,Blancornelas,Ortiz,most definitely have balls.

  26. January 8, 2013 7:34 PM
    Yes,and to dream,to dream of a better world,to dream a dream of brown lithe bodies and black hair,to dream of dusky beauties with satin skin and white teeth,to boldly go where no-one has gone before.Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the light,i have been there and done it,ohh the dusky beauty again.Yes,we shall stand together,we shall dance together,and we shall come together.We can break the mold,we can shatter constraints,ohh here she comes again,baby girl lets go,see ye.

  27. Barron and sicarios like him are murderers and murderers dont have balls. murderers are the lowest of the low lifes after rapists and pedophiles. killing unarmed innocent people is not a thing of valor or honor. death to murderers like Barron.

  28. murder is not a sign of mental strength it is a sign of weakness and ignorance and moral depravity. there is no honor among thieves and no valor among murderers.
    perhaps u say since he faced down men with guns and fought them off that this dead sicario is a man with balls, but in my book, you only have to murder one unarmed innocent human being to castrate urself forever. to make urself a coward. thou shall not murder - what part don't u understand?

  29. Borderland beat you need to give us more updates and new stories you all have been slacking these past couple of days whats going on is everything ok

  30. Thank god for the good people of Mexico. Stay strong compas.


  31. I like where this conversation is going... = )

  32. @5:24...whoa...hold on there because I am a woman? What rock do you shelter under. I have seen violence up close and personal including my murdered brothers lifeless body. You know very little about me or my history or what motivates me to do my part. We are driven by personal circumstance and history I understand that. I came from a very humble beginning.

    What I was trying to pick your idols better, those you place admiration so greatly on, want better for yourself. My father said a million times to us "show me your friends and I will show you who you are". People admire this thug thinking he is so badass but take away the gun and see badass he is.

    You choose him as your hero? do you know how ignorant that is? Let me ask you, what do you call these reporters?

    that is what the story is about.


  33. Hear, Hear! Tell it! Idiots for sure

  34. At 18:10-18:14 on the video. Does it look like it could be two of the Arellano Felix brothers?

  35. Tks for the info on this newspaper...I've traveled a couple of times to Baja and every time I'd see someone offering that newspaper it made me feel distressed...I guess it's because of the name that I was relating it to that miserable psychopath group but had no clue as to its origin. Learn something new every day.

  36. Anon January 9, 2013 5:16 AM " Gangland -The Assassins" is a show made for the ratting, not for the truth. Don't believe everything you see on those shows because is not the truth, I knew the people from Logan Heights and it was not the way they say on the show. You want a more accurate video of how it was look at this one

  37. Cesar El Guero Pesado o "El 15" Barron only show of valor was in the shootout in Puerto Vallarta, most of the people killed by him was ambush or setup and many were unarmed. He was crazy and cold blooded but to me a brave person is that one who defends a life or protects other for good reasons. Other than that they are just killers.

  38. @ chivis and his claim that he is supposedly female....

    you, chivis, are not a woman but simply most likely a mere drunk who is having trouble spelling his favorite brand of scotch whiskey right.

  39. Uh oh... the plot thickens...

  40. "@5:24...whoa...hold on there because I am a woman"
    Stupid old fart

  41. Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo was shot close up and clearly not a narco to the shooter. It was cowardly to kill an unarmed man who had dedicated his life to peace.

    I can perhaps also provide a different view on whether or not "El 15" was a hero. I was in a gang, spent a decade in prison, and have committed numerous acts of extreme violence.

    Violence is only hard in the beginning and actually gets easy as you go on doing it. It is far easier to hurt someone than it is to go through life trying to do the right thing.

    To come out of prison to be a killer is also not that difficult. If you allow it, prison will devour all that is human in you and make you downright demonic. If you fight against that spiritual onslaught and maintain your humanity, nevertheless find it in all that mess, that is bravery. To ride the wave is way too easy.

    To speak out against killers as an unarmed that is bravery.

  42. I gotta say thanks CHIVIS for what u said about u n all ur buddies at BB not being in the same league as the reporters In MexicoTHOSE GUYS have bravery that u, like they say, don't even reach their ankles. !thanks for salt least admitting that.

  43. @5:24...hahah ur a fucking idiot.


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