Carlos Ortega Samper

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:
Two pickup trucks intercepted Ortega, a reporter for the daily El Tiempo de Durango, as he was driving home in the town of Santa María El Oro in the northern state of Durango, colleagues told CPJ.

Four unidentified individuals got off the trucks and pulled the reporter from his car, El Tiempo de Durango journalists said. As he resisted, the assailants shot him three times in the head with a .40-caliber pistol, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Ortega, 52, died at the scene.

In an April 2 article, the journalist had alleged that Mayor Martín Silvestre Herrera and Juan Manuel Calderón Guzmán, the local representative for federal programs, had threatened him in connection with his recent reporting on the conditions of a local slaughterhouse. In the same story, Ortega wrote that he was investigating allegations of corruption involving a local police officer, Salvador Flores Triana. In a subsequent story, his last, journalist said that the three men should be held responsible if anything were to happen to him or his family.

Ortega had worked as the Santa María El Oro correspondent for El Tiempo de Durango for less than a year. His editor, Saúl García, told CPJ that he believed Ortega had been killed in retaliation for his reporting on local government corruption. Authorities did not disclose a possible motive.

Silvestre told CPJ that he had no involvement in the murder. While acknowledging having had disagreements with Ortega, the mayor said he had never threatened him. CPJ phone calls to the other two officials went unanswered in 2009. Phone messages left for Calderón in May 2010 were not returned. Flores could not be located for comment in May 2010.

No suspects had been detained as of June 2010.

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