Eliseo Barrón Hernández

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

least seven hooded gunmen invaded the home of Barrón, a 35-year-old reporter
La Opinión, a paper based in the city of Torreón, Coahuila, in northern Mexico. Barrón had worked for the
paper for 10 years, commuting from nearby Gómez Palacio,
in neighboring Durango

As his
horrified wife and two young daughters watched, assailants beat the reporter
and forced him from his house into a vehicle. His body was found in an
irrigation ditch with a gunshot wound to the head, according to Durango law enforcement
officials. Days before his abduction, Barrón had covered a police corruption
scandal that resulted in the dismissal of numerous officers, according to the
Milenio, which owns La Opinión.

On the
day of Barrón’s funeral, five banners purportedly signed by Joaquín “El Chapo”
Guzmán, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, were hung in prominent
spots in Torreón. One banner said: “We are here, journalists. Ask Eliseo
Barrón. El Chapo and the cartel do not forgive. Be careful, soldiers and

In June
2009, the Mexican army linked several suspects picked up on unrelated narcotics
and weapons charges to the Barrón murder. One suspect, Israel Sánchez Jaimes,
told investigators that a local cartel leader had ordered Barrón’s murder to
“teach a lesson to other local journalists,” according to a statement issued by
the federal attorney general’s office. In August 2009, a federal judge in
Coahuila state ordered that five suspects be tried for the murder, the attorney
general’s office said. A spokeswoman for the attorney general told CPJ in
April 2010 that she could provide no updated information, including the
suspects’ whereabouts and trial date. Barron’s colleagues told CPJ they were
concerned that Sánchez’s statements were made under duress.