Laguna Cartel Blamed for Attack on Mexico Newspaper

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Authorities arrested nine alleged members of one of Mexico’s newer criminal organizations, the so-called Laguna Cartel, who stand accused of attacking the building of local newspaper El Siglo de Torreon in Coahuila state.

As Proceso reported,  the operation —  carried out last week — represents another blow to the recently formed criminal group, following the arrest of another 21 alleged members who were apprehended in March. These detainees were also charged with attacking the newspaper, as well as the murder of Mario Alberto Landeros Campero, a mayoral candidate in the city of Lerdo.

El Siglo de Torreon has suffered numerous attacks this year, including three seperate assaults against the newspaper building and the kidnapping of five journalists in February. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Little is known about the Laguna Cartel, but it is believed to be made up mainly of former members of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), and is currently at war with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas over the Lagunera region that includes the cities of Gomez Palacio, Durango, and Torreon, Coahuila.

Along with the 21 alleged members who were arrested in March, the group’s purported leader, Edgar Yurem Moreno Vasquez, was captured by Mexican authorities in early May.

The fact that the attacks against El Siglo resulted in a wave of arrests is a sign of progress, as most crimes against the media in Mexico go unsolved and often not investigated.

It’s well documented that Mexico continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, and at least 45 media workers have been killed since 2006. Self-censorship has become a common practice within Mexican newsrooms, as not reporting on organized crime has frequently been the only option for keeping media employees safe.

In order to combat the rise of attacks against the free press, President Enrique Peña Nieto approved legislation that will give federal authorities stronger jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed against media workers.

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