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

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Woman Journalist Killed in Drive-by Shooting in Veracruz

"MX" for Borderland Beat
María Elena Ferral
María Elena Ferral, an investigative journalist based in Veracruz, died from her injuries on Monday after two gunmen on a motorcycle shot her eight times as she left from the notary's public office in Papantla. The attack occurred in broad daylight in Papantla's downtown. The perpetrators remain at large.

Ferral worked for El Diario de Xalapa newspaper and the online news site Quinto Poder de Veracruz, where she covered corruption, kidnappings, political assassinations and other organized crime topics. According to her relatives, Ferral was subject to multiple death threats from a regional politician and told her colleagues that if she was ever killed it was because of that politician.

The attack occurred in downtown Papantla at around 2 p.m. on 30 March 2020. Ferral was shot eight times by at least two gunmenthe bullets impacted her thorax, stomach and head. She was quickly rushed to a local hospital where doctors performed an emergency surgery to stop her bleeding and remove the bullet casings.

Once the surgery was over, she was transferred to the city of Poza Rica for intensive care. However, Ferral passed away later that evening at around 9 p.m. The suspects, however, were not identified since they were wearing ski-masks. They are currently at large.

Ferral worked for the El Diario de Xalapa, a leading newspaper in Veracruz. She was also the founder of the online website Quinto Poder de Veracruz, where she covered corruption and crime-related topics. In her publications, she blamed the local police for kidnappings and forced disappearances in the area. In addition, she also covered political assassinations and identified four people who were murdered after aspiring for mayor in the municipality of Gutiérrez Zamora.

In 2016, she started receiving death threats from Camerino Basilio Picazo Pérez, a politician affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Veracruz. He had served as the mayor of Coyutla and was a suspect in the murder of municipal official Miguel Alfonso Vázquez in 2005. The case was never solved and Picazo Pérez continued his political career.

Camerino Basilio Picazo Pérez (source: Congress of Veracruz)
Ferral told her colleagues of Picazo Pérez's death threats and sent them multiple emails in 2016, 2017 and 2018 telling them that if she was ever killed it was because of Picazo Pérez. "If they murder me, I want Camerino Basilio Picazo Pérez to be considered the one responsible for it", she wrote in one of her emails. Ferral asked her colleagues to publicize all of her emails if she was ever killed.

In addition, Ferral's daughter once overheard Picazo Pérez telling others that he planned to kill Ferral. This occurred in a restaurant where Ferral's daughter was eating. Picazo Pérez was not aware that Ferral's daugther was there. Picazo Pérez was eating at the restaurant with his wife Dolores Gutiérrez Saavedra, son and an armed man.

Following the death threats, Ferral went to the Veracruz State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) to seek assistance. The state government granted her a bodyguard and a GPS device. However, these benefits were removed without notice in 2017 after authorities stated that Ferral was not making "good use" of them. 

Reactions and aftermath
Ferral's death was condenmed by local media outlets, the national media and international press freedom organizations. In Veracruz, many of her family, friends and colleagues took the streets in protest.

Protesters in Xalapa condeming Ferral's murder (source: Plumas Libres)
They blocked one of the avenues in between Poza Rica and Tuxpan to bring attention to the case. With banners reading "Justice" and "Not One More", the protesters asked authorities to arrest those responsible for the murder.

Ferral was buried in Papantla's municipal cemetery yesterday. Hundreds of people attended her funeral. While her funeral took place, other people protested her murder in other cities Veracruz, including Xalapa, Alamo and Acayucan. 

Press freedom in Mexico
Her death marks the first murder of a journalist in Mexico in 2020. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), at least 19 media workers were killed in Mexico last year. Mexico ranks 144 out of 180 on the RSF's press freedom rankings.

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 100 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.

Note: Multiple sources were used for this report. For better readability, they are linked in the body paragraphs above.


  1. She found alot of misdeeds going on, can't believe the local cops were doing kidnappings. Political man involved in her killing, bet he won't serve a day.

  2. Sad to hear the same outcome for journalists speaking or informing on sensitive topics continues. These retributions are appalling and unacceptable. Stiffer penalties should be applied to all those who life's profession involves humanitarian, environmental and journalists. These professions and their immense value should be protected and not slaughtered. Nor ignored further by those political powers.

  3. Funny thing is if she did wear GPS, they would sell the to the criminals, thereby they would get her.

  4. another Veracruz journalist killed, probably the most dangerous region in the world for journalists. 30+ or so killed in the last fifteen yrs. crazy how her security measures were removed despite receiving death threats. PRI involved? this is never getting solved sadly

  5. Truth in the face of corruption. May she rest in peace, and for those involved in hermurder may you receive the justice that you deserve in this life and beyond.

  6. Now this is the time for All of Mexican people to WAKE UP
    and demand that this STOP
    THIS is proff you live in a Communtist Country run by THUGS

    I hope the other reporters become the Nemisese of all Cartels and polictal corupt persons
    I dont like to condon violence but this is Wrong to murder a person doing a Honest Job calling out horriable vile wrongs done by your leaders

    makes me sick to hear this happened The Basterds who did this I hope and wish you a painfull horriable frighting death to you
    Shame on me to think this way!
    Reporters are the only ones that are going to help The Mexican people
    No One else cares

    BB reporters Please Stay Safe
    We Appreicate You !

    1. Camerino Basilio Picasso Perez, priista, former mayor of Coyutla and state legislator had been accused by investigative reporter Maria Elena Ferral way before this happened, the government withdrew her protection "in 2017" for whatever reasons, this was Javier "la marrana" Duarte de Ochoa, aka "la gorda sin chile".
      She never accused this communist country or even its sleeping thugs and mexicans if anything happened to her...
      You need to wake the fuck up and stop accusing a whole country for the crimes of the few who have been helping the US fight their Wars on Drugs in Mexico for "The Business of Drug Trafficking for Personal Rea$on$".
      --Your desperate corruption seems to have no decency to itself.

    2. This practice is being utilized in far more worse in other countries (Saudi Arabia). A backed up ally of the US.
      Many have perished in many countries for decades for protesting / making awareness of political issues. A fact that these individuals face globally.


    3. The whole blog of BB is about Mexico and these fuckin crazed girls keep comparisons about the US,we get it,the US is not righteous,now change the fuckin tune

    4. Guess some people remain to be ignorant to fact who we support and are aligned with. Refusing to accept one's erroneous actions for political interests will not stem this problem.
      We all have a responsible role to address such injustices worldwide.

    5. 5:55 it is funny, Old Girl,
      We are not changing the tune...
      until you All fix your beloved All American Crap...
      You go Old Girl!

  7. Honest Reporters of Mexico
    if you are in fear of your life
    and need a Safe place Where they cant find you I will help you
    I live so far off the beaten track coyotes get lost
    Please this is serious
    If you can get across the border I will pick you
    You in my eyes are the ones that need protection Not the Drug pushing welfare queens illegals

    somehow contact us

  8. There was a massacre in Celaya 2 days ago by 4 letras

  9. What u expect Amlo is part of the Chapo Cartel he will protect all Cartels, woman reporter Amlo has no respect

    1. 12:46 AMLO and El Chapo have nothing to do with this crime in Veracruz.
      Maybe not even with your maniacal psychosis.

    2. 12:46 the bad news for all of God's Big and Small Beasts, is that nobody is accusing el Chapo or AMLO, THEIR KISSING WAS DONE FAR AWAY IN badiraguato, while el chapo was extradited in 2013 when EPN started his own murdering fraudulent spurious narco-presidency...
      Hope you get better madame.

  10. And what will they do about it? Nothing...protest in the street for a day or two. Since the authorities can't solve a murder to save their soul, take out Picazo Perez and his family.

    1. How many more protests will it take to safeguard all those individuals from cartel violence?
      A common theme for years now with no security measures implemented as of yet!

  11. A woman of this calibre deserves some dignity and response from every quarter,truly a brave woman who kept going at the cost of her life.
    She is worth so much more than the fuckin rats who collaborated in her murder,so-called men..

  12. Dirty arse PRI,look at the women they are killing.He looks like a fuckin dog,these dogs are capable of anything..
    María Elena Ferral,lets hope her death at least removes this pathetic little geezer who thinks hes so important he can kill women with impunity

  13. Story from PEN International:

  14. Mr President, she's a woman!!!!!!

  15. I'll put 2 in this mfers head right now

  16. Another fallen hero and again Mx women show more balls then most MX men.

    1. Curious to know the percentage rate of women vs men to your statement?
      An interesting question indeed.

  17. What we call the 1st Amendment, doesn't work in Mexico. Stay alive print what the Cartels want.


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