iOS app Android app More

Marcos Antonio Avila Garcia, Journalist, Kidnapped In Mexico

AP  |  Posted: Updated: 05/18/2012 4:40 pm

Mexico Journalist

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Masked gunmen kidnapped a police reporter while he waited at a car wash in the northern state of Sonora, authorities said Friday.

State prosecutors' spokesman Jose Larrinaga said reporter Marcos Antonio Avila Garcia was waiting Thursday for his car to be washed in Ciudad Obregon when three men with automatic rifles forced him into a waiting pickup truck.

No ransom had been requested for the reporter, who covered police news for Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional, said Larrinaga.

Police are investigating whether drug traffickers took Avila, he said, adding that the 39-year-old reporter often wrote about organized crime.

Eduardo Flores, director of the sister newspapers, told the press group Articulo 19 that Avila was among the most experienced police reporters on his staff and that he didn't know if the journalist had received threats. No threats had been received by the newspapers, he added.

Mexico has become one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists in recent years, with media workers disproportionately targeted as a government offensive against drug cartels and rivalry among crime gangs have resulted in tens of thousands of killings, kidnappings and extortion cases.

Last week, gunmen opened fire on the offices of the El Manana newspaper in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. The week before, police found the mutilated bodies of three photojournalists inside plastic bags dumped in a canal in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Prosecutions in journalist killings are rarely carried out, which is generally the case with most homicides and other serious crimes in Mexico.

Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights says 79 journalists were killed between 2000 and 2011. In addition, it said 14 of them have disappeared. Other press freedom groups differ with that number.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Uzbekistan: 5

    Uzbek human-rights activists Nadejda Atayeva speaks to journalists on January 24, 2011 during a rally in favor of detained Uzbek human-rights defenders in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) denounced the January 24 visit of Uzbek President Islam Karimov at the EU Commission. Barroso in recent days visited the gas-producing country's Central Asian neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to discuss the Nabucco pipeline that will funnel gas to Europe via Turkey, bypassing Russia. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS

  • Ethiopia: 7

    Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye (2-R) talks to his lawer Abebe Balcha at an Ethiopian courtroom, on November 1, 2011, in Addis Ababa. Schibbye and Swedish photographer Johan Persson charged with terrorism in Ethiopia rejected witness claims that they had supported a rebel group, as the prosecution opened its case against them. The Swedes were charged last month with engaging in terrorist activities, aiding and abetting a terrorist group, and entering the country illegally. AFP PHOTO/JENNY VAUGHAN

  • Israel and Palestinian territory: 7

    Israeli riot police jostle Israeli and foreign photojournalists during clashes with Palestinian rioters in Arab east Jerusalem on May 13, 2011. AFP PHOTO/JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Turkey: 8

    A placard is pictured during a protest gathering journalists and human right activists in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on November 22, 2011. The two journalists charged with aiding a shadowy group aiming to topple the Islamist-rooted government went on trial on November 22. AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER (Photo credit should read MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syria: 8

    A Syrian man reads the daily state-run newspaper Tishrin in a cafe decorated with portraits of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on April 3, 2011. Syria's former agriculture minister Adel Safar was asked by the president to form a new government, the state-run news agency SANA reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO

  • Vietnam: 9

    A street newspaper vendor looks at the building of the Hanoi People's Court where two journalists are standing trial for their coverage of a major state corruption scandal on October 15, 2008 in Hanoi. The court sentenced one of them, Nguyen Viet Chien from Thanh Nien daily to two years in prison being found guilty of 'abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state'. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam

  • Burma: 12

    A Myanmar newspapers vendor waits for customers in downtown Yangon on March 19, 2011. Myanmar's army is launching a new daily newspaper focusing on military affairs that is likely to be up and running by the end of the month, an official said on March 18. The Burmese-language 'Myawaddy' will become the fourth major daily in the country, which has repressive censorship laws, and is likely to reinforce accusations that the army wants to stay in control despite elections last year. AFP PHOTO/Soe Than WIN (Photo credit should read Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • China: 27

    Police take the details of foreign journalists outside the studio of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Beijing on November 14, 2011. The lawyer for Ai Weiwei Pu Zhiqiang said the tax office in Beijing has refused to accept money the activist needs to pay in order to lodge an appeal against a huge tax bill. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Eritrea: 28

    File picture of a woman walking near a monument erected in memory of the martyrs of the Ethiopia-Eritrea's war that started in 1998 and lasted four years, in the disputed Horn of Africa border town of Badme between Ethiopia and Eritrea on November 5, 2008. Tensions remain high in this border zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea after the withdrawal of UN peace keepers in charge of monitoring the border. The village was the starting point of the two and a half year war between the two countries in May 1998 that left at least 80.000 dead. AFP PHOTO/Stringer/FILES

  • Iran: 42

    Jens Koch one of the two German reporters freed by the Iranian authority, is seen at Tehran's Mehrabbad Airport after arriving from Tabriz on February 19, 2011. The German reporters Marcus Hellwig and Koch, who were held by the authorities for interviewing the son and lawyer of a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, were freed after the courts commuted their jail terms to 50,000-dollar fines. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

FOLLOW MEDIA

Filed by Katherine Fung  |