Who ordered the murder of acclaimed Mexican journalist Javier Valdez?
The former right-hand man to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman says it was the kingpin’s sons. But a friend and colleague of the late reporter rejected that theory Thursday.
Damaso Lopez Nunez, El Chapo’s top lieutenant in the Sinaloa drug cartel, said Wednesday as he testified against his former boss in New York that Guzman’s sons had ordered the May 2017 murder of Valdez.
But the evidence actually points to Lopez’s own son, according to Ismael Bojorquez, the editor of Riodoce, the newspaper he co-founded with Valdez in the Sinaloa state capital, Culiacan.
Valdez, a respected crime reporter and expert on Mexico’s multi-billion- dollar drug trafficking industry, published an article shortly before his death in which Lopez’s son, Damaso Lopez Serrano, was referred to as “Sir Nobody.”
“That enraged Damaso’s son, and that’s what led to the order” to kill Valdez, Bojorquez told Radio Centro in Mexico.
“Damaso is protecting his own son from facing trial for Valdez’s murder.”
El Chapo’s arrest in January 2016 triggered a war for control of the Sinaloa cartel, pitting two of his sons against another faction led by Lopez.
Lopez — a former prison director who once helped El Chapo escape from jail, then teamed up with him — was himself arrested in Mexico City in May 2017.
His son turned himself into the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) two months later, and both have been cooperating with the American authorities in exchange for reduced sentences.
After his arrest, Lopez told Mexican authorities that the order to kill Valdez came from within his organization, but that he did not know who had given it.
Valdez, who was 50 when he was gunned down in broad daylight outside his newspaper’s offices, was a winner of the prestigious International Press Freedom Award and a longtime contributor to Agence France-Presse.
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