evening of September 23, 2008, four unidentified men in a van shot Fonseca as
he hung anti-crime posters on a major street in the capital city of Villahermosa, in the southern Gulf coast state of Tabasco, according to
witnesses and local police. One of the posters read: “No to Kidnappings,” and
another declared support for the Tabasco
governor. Fonseca, 33, died from chest wounds at a local hospital the next
known by the affectionate Mexican nickname “The Godfather,” was the charismatic
host of a popular morning call-in show “El Padrino Fonseca” (The Godfather
Fonseca), geared toward young listeners. On his show, Fonseca had announced
plans to hang the posters in line with his anti-crime campaign, according to
October 2008, Tabasco
state authorities arrested five men and one woman in connection with the
slaying. The next month, military officials in neighboring Chiapas state announced the arrests of three
more men. Alex Alvarez Gutiérrez, deputy prosecutor for the Tabasco attorney general’s office, told CPJ
that the murder was a direct result of the journalist’s anti-crime campaign.
suspect, described as a member of the Zetas criminal group, was cooperating
anti-organized crime unit and was being held in a witness protection program.
The remaining suspects were charged with Fonseca’s murder and were being held
in a high-security prison in Nayarit state, according to the federal attorney
general’s office, local news reports, and CPJ interviews with reporters in Tabasco. Those suspects
also face other federal criminal charges, including kidnapping and drug trafficking
counts. No trial had been scheduled as of June 2010.