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

Monday, January 9, 2023

Gunmen Threatened Journalists, Taking their Phones & Vehicles During Culiacanazo 2.0

 "Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Journalists were not left out of the violence that took place last Thursday in Culiacán, Sinaloa, as they were threatened by cartel gunmen after the capture of Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, nicknamed "El Raton." The journalists were heading to report on and photograph or live stream the narco blockades that had been set up around the city.

An unnamed journalist shared with Reforma his experience in a hotel that served as a refuge after covering one of the narco blockades carried out by cartel members of the faction of the sons of "El Chapo." He said that after a convoy of federal forces passed through the area, young hit men accused him of providing reports on what was happening in that area to the authorities. These young recruits are known as "Los Plebes."

“We already know that it is you, that you are passing on the report (…) Take out the phone and open it,” they told the reporter. “We already know it's you and look if you don't talk we're going to kill you. We have the order and I have permission to kill you if it was you!" They then ordered him to put the phone on airplane mode or to turn it off.

The reporter left the phone with the young hitmen and left as they asked him to. He was left with his camera and began to walk away until he was hit from behind by another man on a motorcycle who grabbed the camera from him.

They then gave him the keys to a van in order to get him out of the area quickly while shouting, "We already took a photo of you, we already know who you are!" During his hiding out at that hotel, he was able to hear Los Plebes justify their violent actions with the capture of their boss, Ovidio Guzmán.

The incident and others were brought up the following morning during AMLO's morning press conference. "There were also attacks on colleagues from the media, and there was a network that spoke or reported At least, he learned of 13 attacks, colleagues who were... practically unable to report on what was happening, President, precisely because members of organized crime took their vehicles or robbed them of their cell phones." At least four vehicles belonging to press workers were carjacked by the armed men. And one of them was set on fire. 

Gilberto Meza of Quadratín News Agency was one of the journalists whose vehicle was stolen. He and two fellow journalists were in a van heading to cover the narco blockades when a group of men on motorcycles pointed their weapons at the journalists and demanded the key to their vehicle. They complied and were not harmed.

"I’d never felt fear before. I’ve been covering crime news for more than 15 years and the truth is I had never felt this uncertainty, this fear, this moment of insecurity," Meza said in an interview with news chain N+Media. "We kept seeing trucks with armed men passing by. The truth is that we felt a lot of insecurity and a lot of uncertainty, and we were not safe until we arrived at a colleague’s home. We’ve been sheltered there ever since."

José Manuel Salas was streaming live for Link Sinaloa when he was also surprised by armed youths who took his equipment and cell phone. 

Marcos Vizcarra of the digital news outlet Revista Espejo was stopped by armed young men who not only took his car but his laptop computer, leaving him his camera and phone.

"I’m inside a hotel in the north part of the city of Culiacán. About three hours ago they took my car and I was able to take shelter here. Armed men entered the hotel named Two and are threatening customers to hand over their car keys. There is shouting and crying," Vizcarra posted on his Twitter account.

Military Allegedly Threatened Journalists at Culiacan Airport

Cartel gunmen were not the only ones who threatened journalists. The Culiacan Airport was under attack to prevent Ovidio's transfer from the area and allegedly the army and members of the National Guard scolded, threatened, and even shot at photojournalists. Possibly having mistaken them for gunmen.

Sinaloa also has a history of murders of journalists. Last year, journalist Luis Enrique Ramírez was found beaten to death, after being reported missing a day earlier. In 2017, the founder of RíodoceJavier Valdez, was murdered. His death has been among the most emblematic of the violence suffered by journalists in Mexico.


  1. These could have potentially save their lives anyone moving was a target for the UH-60M

  2. I saw that video where margarito music was live and had he’s phone taken 😂

  3. Has there been any confirmed source that Ovidio’s daughter was killed? A lot of blood was found inside his 2 daughters room.

    1. Could have easily been a sicario running in the room after getting shot

  4. Military needs keep up the pressure, get another Chapito, let them know who's boss and bring stability to the city under siege.

  5. next time the government will be after mencho


    2. Not really, because he is Dead.

  6. Mencho is like mayo not pendego they don’t trust no body

  7. Saludos pa La Mafia


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