Mexican authorities have arrested an alleged drug trafficker accused of masterminding the killing of a photojournalist in the northern border city of Tijuana in January, the government said Thursday.
The killing of Margarito Martínez — and that of a second journalist in Tijuana days later — triggered international condemnation and calls for the government to step up protection of media workers.
The suspect, identified as "David N," was detained Wednesday with two other people in the town of Apodaca in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia told reporters.
He is the "alleged intellectual author of Margarito's murder" and head of a cell of the once-powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel, Mejia told reporters, without revealing the suspected motive.
Remnants of the same cartel are also accused of murdering reporter Lourdes Maldonado López less than a week later for complaining about drug dealing in her neighborhood of Tijuana.
According to the government, 13 journalists have been killed in Mexico in 2022 — already one of the deadliest years yet for the country's press.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) puts the number at 14 — of whom at least 10 were killed because of their work, according to the media rights watchdog.
More than 150 media workers have been murdered since 2000 in the Latin American country, one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, according to RSF.