Early in the morning of February 9, 2009, about 25 gunshots were fired from at least one assault rifle at the home of Moíses García Castro, editor-in-chief of the Guasave-based daily El Debate in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, according to local news reports and CPJ interviews. There was minor damage to the house and to two vehicles outside, but no one was injured.
García told CPJ that he had reviewed all recent news coverage in El Debate but could not determine what could have prompted the attack. Sinaloa is an area that is heavily controlled by drug traffickers, and according to García, his newspaper has pulled back on related news coverage for fear of reprisal. The editor said El Debate had stopped investigating drug trafficking and now limits its coverage to events impossible to ignore, such as a recent hours-long shootout between police and traffickers in downtown Guasave. These days, said García, what El Debate publishes on drug and corruption, it gets directly from government press releases. There have been no threats against the newspaper, he told CPJ.
Following the attack on Garcia’s home, a graffiti message was found on a nearby wall threatening the life of Guasave’s police chief. But García said the message could have been put up before the attack and gone unnoticed.
Ordinarily, gunfire on a house would be a local crime. However, a spokeswoman for the federal attorney general’s special prosecutor in charge of crimes against journalists told CPJ that because an assault rifle was used in the attack the federal government would intervene and take the case. García said he has not asked for police protection.