New York, April 13, 2000 — CPJ is investigating the recent killing of Pablo Pineda, a reporter and photographer with the Mexican newspaper La Opinión in the border city of Matamoros.
On April 9 at approximately 2:45 a.m., agents from the U.S. Border Patrol discovered Pineda’s body in Los Indios, just outside Harlingen, Texas. The agents had watched two individuals cross the Rio Grande carrying a bundle wrapped in a white sheet, which was deposited on the U.S. shore. When no one came to retrieve the bundle, the officers investigated and found Pineda’s body.
According to news reports, the journalist had been shot in the back of the head with a nine-millimeter pistol, and his head was wrapped in a plastic bag.
One of Pineda’s colleagues informed CPJ that the 38-year-old journalist covered the police beat and had also written on drug trafficking in the region. He had worked for La Opinión for the past eight months.
About four months ago, in December 1999, Pineda survived an assassination attempt near his home. The gunman was never caught, although Pineda filed a complaint with the local police.
CPJ is deeply saddened by Pineda’s murder. It is not yet clear whether the journalist was killed in reprisal for his work.