least seven hooded gunmen invaded the home of Barrón, a 35-year-old reporter
for La Opinión, a paper based in the city of
horrified wife and two young daughters watched, assailants beat the reporter
and forced him from his house into a vehicle. His body was found in an
irrigation ditch with a gunshot wound to the head, according to
On the day of Barrón’s funeral, five banners purportedly signed by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, were hung in prominent spots in Torreón. One banner said: “We are here, journalists. Ask Eliseo Barrón. El Chapo and the cartel do not forgive. Be careful, soldiers and journalists.”
In June 2009, the Mexican army linked several suspects picked up on unrelated narcotics and weapons charges to the Barrón murder. One suspect, Israel Sánchez Jaimes, told investigators that a local cartel leader had ordered Barrón’s murder to “teach a lesson to other local journalists,” according to a statement issued by the federal attorney general’s office. In August 2009, a federal judge in Coahuila state ordered that five suspects be tried for the murder, the attorney general’s office said. A spokeswoman for the attorney general told CPJ in April 2010 that she could provide no updated information, including the suspects’ whereabouts and trial date. Barron’s colleagues told CPJ they were concerned that Sánchez’s statements were made under duress.