Bladimir Antuna García

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:
Two SUVs intercepted a Ford Explorer being driven by reporter Antuna on a main street in the capital city of Durango in northern Mexico. Witnesses told local reporters that five men with assault rifles pulled Antuna from his vehicle and drove him away. That evening, local authorities found Antuna’s body near the kidnapping scene with a note that read: “This happened to me for giving information to the military and for writing too much.” His body showed evidence of strangulation, according to the coroner’s report. 

Antuna, 39, was a seasoned crime reporter in Durango, where the Sinaloa and Zetas crime groups were battling for turf. Antuna told the Mexico City-based Center for Journalism and Public Ethics that he had received telephone death threats, some from callers identifying themselves as members of the Zetas. He also told coworkers and the Mexico City magazine Buzos that he had received threats.

On April 28, 2009, as Antuna was leaving home, an assailant opened fire on his house, the reporter recounted in an interview with Buzos. No injuries were reported, but Antuna received a call later that day from an anonymous person who said: “We’ve found your home. It’s over for you now.” That day, Antuna reported the attack and the earlier threats to the state attorney general’s office, but he told colleagues that authorities never contacted him to follow up. Records on file at the attorney general’s office show that authorities did not take his complaint seriously, calling Antuna “paranoid.”

Antuna told the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics that he had been investigating police corruption and, in the process, had collaborated with Eliseo Barrón Hernández, a reporter who was slain in May 2009. Antuna was also investigating the May 2009 murder of fellow El Tiempo de Durango reporter Carlos Ortega Samper. 

Juan López Ramírez, the state prosecutor for crimes against the press, acknowledged in a March 2010 interview with CPJ that detectives had conducted only cursory interviews with witnesses and the victim’s wife.

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