On May 4, an unidentified individual told Barraza that reputed drug trafficker Albino Quintero Meraz was disturbed by two recent Pulsoarticles alleging links between him and a former state governor. On June 5, a bodyguard provided by the municipal police was beaten up by federal police officers who were apparently unhappy about an article Barraza had published linking the federal police to local drug traffickers. As a result the municipal police have withdrawn Barraza’s protection.
Today Barraza informed CPJ that the Sonora State Attorney General’s office has refused to provide him and his family with protection, claiming that they lack the necessary resources. This action places Barraza in severe danger: the July 15, 1997 murder of his La Prensacolleague Benjamín Flores González, for which drug traffickers are widely believed to be responsible, shows how seriously death threats against journalists who cover the drug trade need to be taken in San Luis Río Colorado.
Please join CPJ in urging the Mexican authorities to provide Barraza, his family, and his colleagues with the protection they so desperately need.
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
President of Mexico
Mexico City, MEXICO
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