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Authorities warns Mexican newspaper Zeta of threat after publishing photos of top cartel figures

December 5, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Authorities warns Mexican newspaper Zeta of threat after publishing photos of top cartel figures

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Mexican authorities have warned staff members of respected news publication, The Weekly Zeta, in the state of Baja California, of a possible attack in retaliation for publishing photos of several top organized crime figures including the leader of a local cartel cell on the front page.

Zeta reported on its website that authorities received credible intelligence that a local leader of the ruthless Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, often referred to by its Spanish initials the CJNG, ordered hitmen to shoot up the offices of Zeta.

Police officials said the author of the alleged threat against Zeta is Israel Alejandro Vazquez alias “El 50,” the leader of a CJNG cell.

Authorities have identified Vazquez as a known killer for the Jalisco Cartel in Tijuana and right-hand of Arturo Gomez-Herrera “The Gross”, the CJNG’s chief of assassins who was shot dead in a barber shop in Guadalajara, Jalisco back on Oct. 27.

Upset at having his face scrawled on the front page of Zeta weekly magazine along with nine of the most sought after cartel criminals in the state accused of facilitating the recent violence in Tijuana, Vazquez reportedly ordered gunmen to attack the newspaper’s office during off hours while no employees were present in the building as a warning.

Tijuana has once again become the epicenter drug-related violence after several years of relative calm.

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The weekly Zeta published photos of top cartel figures, which was provided by Mexican authorities

The CJNG allied with remnants of the Arellano-Felix Organization have waged a war against the Sinaloa cartel for control of border drug-smuggling routes in Tijuana, Ensenada, and La Paz.

Despite the threat of violence, Zeta refused to back down, releasing a statement in Monday’s edition.

“Those of us who work at Zeta maintain our commitment to investigative journalism that is controversial and denounces those people from the government, those institutions or criminal groups who seek to maintain impunity to attack the society in which we work,” Zeta said.

Cartel-related violence is nothing new to the media outlet which has ostensibly reported on the drug trade and political corruption. In 1988, armed assailants assassinated Mexican columnist and Zeta Weekly co-founder Héctor Félix Miranda.

In 1997, Miranda’s partner, Jesús Blancornelas, survived an attempt on his life, and in 2004, editor Francisco Javier Ortiz was executed after publishing several in-depth reports on the drug trade.

Mexico continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to report along with war-torn nations such as Syria and Iraq.

Reporters remain under threat and continue to be easy targets for both drug cartels and corrupt Mexican government officials.

According to Journalists at Risk, 17 journalists have been executed in Mexico since 2014, nine of which were kidnapped and tortured before being murdered with another 23 still reported missing. Most often, the crimes go unsolved.

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