Huge’s body was found with three others in a canal in Boca
del Rio, Veracruz state, on May 3. All of the bodies had been dismembered and
showed signs of torture. Huge, a news photographer who specialized in the crime
beat, had gone missing on May 2, along with another victim, his nephew
Guillermo Luna Varela, who was a photojournalist with Veracruznews. The
other two victims were Esteban Rodríguez, a former news photographer, and
Irasema Becerra, an acquaintance of Huge and Luna.
Huge and Luna had both previously worked as photographers
for the local daily Notiver. After the murders
of three Notiver journalists last year, the two fled Veracruz along with
journalists, news reports
said, but later returned. News accounts reported that upon Huge’s return to
Veracruz, he had worked occasionally as a freelance photographer.
Rodríguez had also quit his job at the local newspaper AZ
after the murders and had taken up work as a welder, according to local
journalists and news reports.
A federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity said
the day after the murders that all journalists on the police beat in Xalapa,
the capital of Veracruz state, as well as in the cities of Veracruz and Boca
del Rio, had been offered local police protection. CPJ has documented
a mixture of negligence and pervasive corruption among law enforcement
officials, particularly at the state level.
State authorities have launched an investigation into the
murders, according to news reports. Veracruz, which is a battleground for the
Zetas and Sinaloa cartels, is one of Mexico’s most dangerous states for
the press, according to CPJ research.