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article imageMexican journalist Valdez's alleged killer arrested: official

By AFP     Apr 23, 2018 in World

The alleged perpetrator behind the murder of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez -- a long-time AFP collaborator killed in May 2017 -- is in police custody, Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete said Monday.

"A few moments ago, (police and prosecutors) detained the alleged perpetrator of the murder of journalist Javier Valdez, whose life was unfortunately taken last year in #Sinaloa," tweeted Navarrete.

Interior ministry spokesmen said they had no further details.

Valdez, an award-winning journalist who covered Mexico's powerful drug cartels, was gunned down in broad daylight outside the offices of Riodoce, the newspaper he co-founded in Culiacan, the capital of his native Sinaloa state. He was 50 years old.

He was one of the most prominent chroniclers of Mexico's deadly drug war in a state where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, now imprisoned in the United States, once ruled.

In 2011, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists honored Valdez for his work with the prestigious Freedom of Expression Award.

Valdez was among at least 11 journalists murdered in Mexico last year, making it the deadliest country in the world for the press after Syria, according to watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

Racked by brutal violence linked to the multi-billion-dollar narcotics trade, Mexico posted a record number of homicides last year: 25,339.

More than 90 percent of violent crimes go unpunished.

Valdez's widow, Griselda, cautiously welcomed the arrest.

"If they can demonstrate that this is really the killer... we'll need to know why he did it, what the motive was and who gave the order," she told AFP.

"I hope it will be soon," she said in Mexico City, where she now lives. "I think there's a possibility the crime will be solved."

The arrest announcement came on the same day that prosecutors in Mexico's second city, Guadalajara, confirmed that three film students who had been missing for five weeks were kidnapped, tortured, killed and likely dissolved in acid.

There are currently more than 33,000 people missing in Mexico, a number that has exploded along with the murder rate as the country struggles to stop the wave of violence.

Prosecutors said they suspected the film students were killed by the powerful Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.

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