Romero, who worked for the private radio network Línea
Directa, was kidnapped
by several gunmen in ski masks before entering a restaurant in
“We are shocked by the murder of José Luis Romero,” said Carlos
Lauría, CPJ senior program coordinator for the
Romero had covered the police beat for the statewide radio broadcaster Línea Directa for a decade, News Director Luis Alberto Díaz told CPJ. According to Díaz, Romero was the victim of one of the two drug cartels who have been fighting an extremely violent war in the state. Díaz said murdering a well-known broadcaster fit into the cartels’ intentions to intimidate the public: “They want to seed psychosis among the audience, they want to terrorize,” he said. “They want to keep people’s mouths’ shut.”
Díaz said his staff was examining Romero’s recent work to see if there was something specific he may have said on the air that might have angered one of the two drug cartels.
The state prosecutor’s office said on Monday they had no leads in the case. The federal prosecutor’s office announced last week it would assist state authorities in the abduction investigation but that it had no further comment.
Events leading up to the discovery of the body would
indicate that a drug cartel is responsible for Romero’s murder, local
journalists told CPJ. Last week a banner appeared in a
Then, according to the state prosecutor’s office, an anonymous caller told the police where to find Romero’s body. State investigators said the body had been buried then dug up. Journalists covering the story in Sinaloa said they suspected the Beltrán Leyva cartel had murdered Romero and buried him in territory under their control but that the pressure of the investigation forced them to relocate his body and tell the police where it could be found.
Romero’s abduction and murder come at a time of increasing violence in Sinaloa state, as the two cartels fight for territorial control. Local news reports say that since the beginning of the month there have been more than 130 murders in the state.