A woman lights a candle next to photos of slain Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea in Mexico City on March 25, 2017. Hugo Amed Schultz Alcaraz, a former mayor, was recently sentenced to eight years in jail for his role in the journalist's murder. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

Former Mexican mayor convicted for role in murder of reporter Miroslava Breach

Mexico City, June 16, 2021 – In response to yesterday’s sentencing of Hugo Amed Schultz Alcaraz to eight years in prison for his role in the 2017 murder of Mexican reporter Miroslava Breach Velducea, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“After several recent sentences in the Javier Valdez Cardenas and Miroslava Breach Velducea murder trials, this latest conviction is another bit of good news in a country where the vast majority of deadly crimes against reporters go unpunished,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative. “The verdict is another sign that the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression, when committed, can achieve meaningful results in the fight against impunity in the killings of journalists. Authorities must now do everything in their power to arrest and convict all others involved in Breach’s murder.”

Yesterday, a federal judge in the state of Chihuahua sentenced Schultz Alcaraz, the former mayor of the Chihuahua city of Chínipas, as part of an abbreviated trial, similar to a plea bargain, in which Schultz admitted responsibility for his role in the murder in exchange for a reduced sentence, according to a statement by Propuesta Cívica, a legal nonprofit organization that represents the journalist’s family at the trial.

Schultz is the second suspect to be sentenced for Breach’s killing; in August 2020, Juan Carlos Moreno Ochoa was sentenced to 50 years, as CPJ documented at the time. Schultz was arrested on December 18, 2020, after the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression obtained evidence that he had provided information about the reporter to the criminal gang that allegedly planned and carried out the murder, as CPJ documented.

Breach, the Chihuahua correspondent for Mexico City newspaper La Jornada, was shot dead on March 23, 2017, in front of her home. According to witness testimony during Moreno Ochoa’s trial, the killing was ordered by José Crispín Salazar, who Mexican authorities alleged is the leader of the Chihuahua-based Los Salazar criminal gang, in retaliation for her reporting on his gang and local politicians. CPJ was unable to find any contact information for Salazar, who remains at large.