05/18/2012 08:17 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2012

Marco Antonio Avila, Mexican Crime Reporter, Murdered And Stuffed Into A Garbage Bag

CIUDAD OBREGON, Mexico, May 18 (Reuters) - The corpse of a crime reporter was found stuffed into a garbage bag in a suspected gangland killing in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, prosecutors said Friday.

Police officers located the body of Marco Antonio Avila on the side of a rural road the day after he was kidnapped by a group of gunmen at a car wash in the nearby town of Ciudad Obregon, said Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for the state prosecutor's office.

The body showed signs of torture and a threatening note typical of those used by drug gangs was left at the scene, Larrinaga said.

Avila covered police and crime issues for the local paper Diario de Sonora and had reported on drug-related violence.

Sonora, which borders Arizona, lies on a key smuggling route for the Sinaloa cartel, led by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

The murder follows the killing of three journalists in the eastern state of Veracruz over the past month.

In total, more than 70 journalists have been murdered in Mexico in the last decade, according to the government-funded National Human Rights Commission.

Drug cartels are thought to be behind many of the murders, but very few of the cases have been solved.

Last year, Mexico was the third deadliest country in the world for journalists after Pakistan and Iraq, according to counts by Reporters Without Borders. (Reporting by German Osuna and Ioan Grillo; editing by Todd Eastham)



Mexico Killings