An ex-cop turned narco hitman has confessed to the brutal beheading of Mexican journalist Moises Sanchez, whose headless body was discovered Saturday in Veracruz, on the Gulf coast of Mexico.
The killer, arrested the following day, said he murdered the newspaperman following a chain of command that leads all the way to the mayor's office of Medellin de Bravo. A state prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for Mayor Omar Cruz, who is attempting to shelter himself from capture under the condition of legal immunity.
The apprehended hitman told police he targeted Sanchez because his reporting on the local government's alleged links to organized crime and lack of security in the municipality was “poking the hornet’s nest.” Sanchez was kidnapped from his home on Jan. 2. He was beheaded the same day.
The prosecutor's office is asking the state congress to remove the mayor’s legal immunity to proceed with its case against him.
Sanchez's grisly murder comes on the heels of several other incidents that reaffirms Mexico's unhappy position as one of the most dangerous nations on earth for journalists.
Last December, a report by Reporteros Sin Fronteras ranked Mexico 6th in the world for journalist killings. The Mexican government reported 102 journalist killings between 2000 - 2014, and Veracruz ranks as one of the most dangerous states in the country.
Mexican journalists are being targeted by cartels and authorities, in a country where the distinction between those two groups continues to blur.
Last year, Mexican journalist Karla Janeth Silva was hospitalized after a group of men stormed into the offices of her Guanajuato newspaper El Heraldo and brutally beat her. Silva was criticizing Mayor Benjamin Solis Arzola’s administration at the time of the attack.
The mayor denied involvement in the case but then issued a public apology after the state government’s human-rights division linked the crime to his office.