Crime reporter abducted in Mexico

New York, May 18, 2012–The veteran crime beat reporter Marcos Ávila García was abducted Thursday afternoon in the Mexican town of Ciudad Obregón, in northwest Sonora state, according to news reports. Ávila reports for the local daily El Regional de Sonora, the newspaper said

José Larrinaga Talamante, spokesman for the Sonora Attorney General’s office, told reporters that Ávila was waiting for his car to be finished at a car wash when three or four men armed with rifles arrived in another car and, according to a witness, forced him into their vehicle. Larrinaga said the police are investigating several possible motives for the crime. Phone calls to El Regional‘s offices went unanswered.

“We call on the Mexican authorities to do everything in their power to locate Marcos Ávila García and bring him back to safety,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s Executive Director.

Crime beat reporting is the most dangerous work for the Mexican press. The bodies of two Mexican news photographers who specialized in the crime beat were found on May 3. Drug-related violence makes Mexico one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows. Since 2006, more than 45 journalists have been killed or disappeared in Mexico, according to CPJ research