Arrest in connection with the murder of a Tijuana journalist

TIJUANA (Border Report) – A Baja California state government official has announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the murder of Tijuana photojournalist Margarito Martínez, who was shot and killed earlier this week in front of his home.

Initial reports indicated that a gunman approached Martínez’s car and shot him through the driver’s side window, hitting him once in the head and twice in the upper chest.

“This arrest took place early this morning,” said Catalino Zavala Márquez, Secretary of State for Baja California. “I can’t tell you more, most of the information will have to come from the Attorney General’s office.”

Zavala Márquez said Martínez’s family was being offered protection and security details, but he did not say whether they had received threats or believed their lives were in danger.

Meanwhile, Baja California State Attorney General Hiram Sánchez Zamora did not mention the arrest, but said most of the investigation could be carried out by his counterpart in Mexico City.

Margarito Martinez. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

He then added that the gun used to kill Martínez had been used in five other murders in the city since 2020.

“Casings from a 9mm handgun were recovered from the scene, we can find them and admit that the same weapon was used in this homicide,” Sánchez Zamora said.

Fingerprints were taken from Martínez’s car, but it has not been determined whether they belong to the shooter, Sánchez Zamora said.

Sonya de Anda, a journalist in northern Baja California and head of a journalists’ advocacy group, said Martínez last month sought protection from state and local agencies after being threatened for taking photos. of men suspected of being involved in drug cartels.

De Anda said his concerns have been passed on to the federal government.

“Margarito was redirected to a federal database of threatened journalists, this happened on December 13,” she said. “He was given paperwork to fill out to be officially put on a possible protection list, but he never filled out the paperwork.”

According to this federal agency, if the documents are not returned within one month, the complaint is rejected and erased from the system.

Martínez had worked for 15 years on “police beat” as a photojournalist, documenting the region’s ongoing violence and high homicide rate.

He has worked for various publications including Zetaa weekly known for its scathing articles on crime, drug cartels and politicians.

Martínez had a reputation for always being first at a crime scene and unafraid to traverse desolate areas and canyons known as havens for criminals.

El País Journalist Beatriz Guillen said that Martínez “owns the night”.

“Margarito had a very friendly disposition, always relaxed, but always serious when it came to doing his job,” said Guillermo Arias, another photojournalist working in Tijuana who described a time when Martínez was hired by a production company. French to train actors for a Netflix series on journalism.

“He worked hard and fought hard to earn that respect,” said Tijuana journalist Gabriela Martínez.

Margarito Martínez, 49, leaves behind his wife Elena and daughter Johana.

“As journalists, we are so used to violence, especially living and working in a city like Tijuana, that we face homicides on a daily basis, but this is a personal blow,” said Ines Garcia. , who was Martínez’s editor.

Garcia and many others will gather in Tijuana this Friday night for a vigil in honor of Martínez.