David Meza Montesinos

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Meza, 51, a renowned street reporter for several broadcast outlets, was killed after a car chase through the streets of La Ceiba, capital of Atlántida province on the northern coast, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Gunmen finally overtook and shot Meza on the doorstep of his home.

Colleagues said Meza specialized in helping people who had been mistreated by government or business. “This is a city of abuses,” said Julio César Rodríguez, La Ceiba correspondent for La Tribuna. “The government abuses the poor. The rich, the businesses abuse the poor. Even the middle classes take what they want from the people at the bottom. Who is to stop them? David Meza stopped them, and for years.”

Abrahám Mejía, who was Meza’s co-anchor on Channel 45, said Meza had recently criticized local police as corrupt and incompetent. Mejía said he believed police might have been behind the killing. “David thought he was too big to lose the fight,” Mejía told CPJ. “But the police can’t stand to be humiliated, not that way. So they had to react.” La Ceiba Police Chief José Ayala did not respond to CPJ messages seeking comment.

Mejía and Rodríguez acknowledged that their late colleague was known to extort money from sources. Meza’s family did not return messages seeking comment on the claim. Arrest warrants were issued in June for four suspects, but a local prosecutor told CPJ he would not discuss a motive or any other details. Two suspects were apprehended; one was later freed and the other acquitted at trial. 

In 2012
and 2013, three other men who authorities linked to the gang known as “Crazy Horse” were
arrested and placed in preventative detention for allegedly participating in and
carrying out Meza’s murder. Neither news reports nor authorities mentioned a
possible motive.