Journalist killed in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz

VERACRUZ, Mexico — Mexican police said Thursday a journalist who ran a local news website was shot to death in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

State police said Leobardo Vazquez was found dead late Wednesday in the town of Gutierrez Zamora, which is located in an area known for drug cartel activity.

Ivonne Hernandez Duran, Vazquez's wife, said she heard shots and found her husband lying near a taco stand he operated out of his home.

Vazquez previously worked for other outlets, but was most recently managing the news site Enlace Informativo Regional.

The site covers general news and crime in the coastal town. Journalists in provincial Mexico also sometimes run other businesses to make ends meet.

Vazquez is at least the second journalist slain in Mexico this year. In 2017, ten journalists were killed in the country.

Ana Laura Perez, president of the state's commission for the protection of journalists, said Vazquez hadn't formally reported any threats, but noted that initial investigations suggest that "apparently he had been threatened by a notary, and there was also talk of threats from mayors."

The site had also reported on a land dispute, and posts on March 9 suggest that parties to the conflict made a "veiled threat" against him.

The state prosecutors' office said it would investigate all possible motives, including those related to his work.

Perez gave Vazquez's age as 42, although police said he was 48.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission condemned the killing, noting Veracruz is the most dangerous place in Mexico for journalists, with 22 media workers killed in the state since 2000.

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