Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Police Officers Arrested in Disappearance of Mexican Journalist


VERACRUZ, Mexico – Two municipal police officers have been arrested in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz in connection with the disappearance of community activist and reporter Moises Sanchez Cerezo, state prosecutors said.

The officers are members of the police department in Medellin de Bravo, where the activist was kidnapped by gunmen last Friday, the Veracruz Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

A judge issued 48-hour arrest warrants for the two officers as part of the investigation of Sanchez Cerezo’s disappearance, the AG’s office said.

“This arrest warrant, executed in the first minutes of today (Monday), will allow prosecutors to expand the investigation to clear up the disappearance of Sanchez (Cerezo),” the AG’s office said in a statement.

The journalist, a former candidate for local office, has been listed as missing since Jan. 2, when relatives reported his disappearance to authorities.

Sanchez Cerezo worked as a citizen-journalist and posted complaints about alleged corruption in Medellin de Bravo on social-networking sites, media reports said.

An all-out search was launched for Sanchez Cerezo as soon as his disappearance was reported, the AG’s office said.

Members of the media staged a protest on Monday outside the Governor’s Palace in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, to demand that federal officials and international organizations help find the missing journalist.

Sanchez Cerezo works as a reporter in Medellin de Bravo, writing stories and taking photos for his small weekly, La Union, the Cronica de Xalapa newspaper reported over the weekend.

He is also a community activist in several neighborhoods, where residents have banded together to fight crime, the newspaper said.

Sanchez Cerezo’s relatives contacted several Veracruz and national media outlets via e-mail and reported his disappearance.

The journalist had received “prior threats,” relatives said.

Veracruz, Mexico’s third most populous state, has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the murder rate skyrocketing in the past few years.

The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful Familia Michoacana criminal organization, are fueling the violence in the state.


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