The Guardian

‘They’re culpable’: the countries supplying the guns that kill Mexico’s journalists

Many of the weapons used in the murders of 119 journalists were imported – and Mexico’s laws and culture make tracing them impossible
An expert works at a crime scene in Mexico City on 26 June. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

It was around daybreak when Mexican crime reporter Luis Vallejo received a call from a local police officer telling him that a bag of human remains had been found in the city of Salamanca where he lives.

Vallejo had become accustomed to calls like this: in recent years, violence in Guanajuato, the surrounding region, has spiraled to unprecedented levels amid bloody turf wars between rival cartels.

But when he reached the scene he found Israel Vázquez, a fellow reporter – and a lifelong friend of Vallejo – gasping for breath in a pool of blood. Vázquez, 31, had been shot 11 times by drive-by assailants as he prepared to broadcast live on Facebook. Police found bullet casings from two guns: a 9mm and a .45 caliber.

Vázquez, a father of two little girls, died later on 9 November, becoming the third journalist shot dead in 10 days in Mexico – the most dangerous country in the world for the media outside war zones.

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