Alfredo Cardoso Echeverría, founder and editor of online news magazine Las Dos Costas, was abducted on October 28, 2021, from his home in Acapulco, on the Pacific coast in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, by a group of masked, armed men, according to news reports and Cardoso’s wife, who spoke to CPJ via phone but asked not to be named out of concerns for her safety. He was found the next day close to his residence with at least five gunshot wounds; despite being rushed to the hospital and undergoing surgery, he was pronounced dead on October 31, his wife said.
According to news reports, Cardoso had previously worked as a photographer for several media outlets in Acapulco. CPJ was unable to locate more information about his prior work as a journalist and was unable to find the Las Dos Costas magazine online. Cardoso’s wife was unable to provide details on his recent work.
An official with the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which operates under the auspices of the federal Interior Secretariat and coordinates protection programs for journalists and rights defenders at risk, told CPJ via messaging app that his institution was unaware of any threats against Cardoso’s life. He asked to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to speak on the matter.
On October 29, the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office, said in a statement on its Facebook page that it had opened an investigation into the killing, but did not provide further details. CPJ repeatedly called the office for comment but no one answered.
Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado condemned the killing on October 31 in a statement on Facebook, saying she had instructed her government to provide protection to Cardoso’s family and to investigate the incident.
On November 23, 2021, the state prosecutor’s office announced in a short statement on its Facebook page that a suspect, identified as Roberto “N,” had been arrested for his alleged involvement in the killing.
Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, head of the office of the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression, under the office of the federal attorney general, told CPJ via messaging app that his office had taken over the case on March 17, 2022.
On March 28, 2022, Pérez told CPJ in a private meeting that his office believed that Cardoso was murdered because of his journalism, but he was unable to provide further details at the time.
In at least one interrogation, Roberto “N” said he had been hired by another suspect, a former Acapulco police officer whose identity has not been made public due to the ongoing investigation, to “pick up a journalist” and intimidate him, although originally not to murder him, according to a section of the case file that Cardoso’s widow shared with CPJ.
On August 9, 2022, the federal attorney general’s office announced in a statement on its website that Roberto “N” (then identified as Roberto “B”) had been sentenced to 13 years in prison for firing the gunshots that killed Cardoso.
That same day, Cardoso’s wife told CPJ that the verdict was part of an abbreviated trial, similar to a plea bargain, and that a federal investigation was ongoing to determine the motive and the identity of the mastermind and other participants in the murder.