Mexican authorities detain secretary in investigation of radio journalist's slaying

Mexican federal agents raided a second home in their investigation into a radio journalist's death, detaining the personal secretary of the reporter's sister.

The agents from Mexico's Federal Agency of Investigation, or AFI, as it is known by its Spanish initials, arrested Noe Malpica Caro, 30, on arms possession charges, the federal Attorney General's office announced late Wednesday.

Raul Gibb Guerrero, editor of La Opinion newspaper in the northern city of Poza Rica, was ambushed and shot to death on April 8 in the city, about 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Mexico City.

Malpica is personal secretary to Gibb's sister Silvia Gibb. Federal agents searched Silvia Gibb's house last Sunday, finding a grenade, pistols and ammunition. Neither Gibb nor her son Brian Buiss Gibb were home at the time, however. Their whereabouts were still unknown Thursday.

Local news media have reported that Buiss Gibb is being sought in connection with the editor's slaying and that both he and his mother have gone missing. Authorities have not confirmed those reports independently.

Police found a .22-caliber pistol, a .16-gauge shotgun and 88 usable shells in Malpica's home, investigators said. Under the law, police can hold Malpica up to 48 hours while they continue their investigation, or release him, given that the guns he had in his house were not illegal. He was still in detention Thursday afternoon.

Also Thursday, the Paris-based news media watchdog Reporters Without Borders issued a statement denouncing an attack on radio reporter Agustin Chavez last week in the southern state of Oaxaca. Chavez was beaten unconscious, allegedly by the brothers of an ex-mayor who had been the target of Chavez's reports on alleged government corruption.

The attack against Gibb and Chavez were just two of numerous assaults on journalists in Mexico this year, especially those who dedicate themselves to covering drug traffickers and exposing government corruption.

Three days prior to the attack on Gibb, radio crime reporter Guadalupe Garcia Escamilla, 39, was shot nine times in the chest, abdomen, legs and arms during an April 5 attack in the tough border city of Nuevo Laredo. She later died of her wounds.

On April 2, Alfredo Jimenez, a crime reporter who frequently wrote about the drug trade for El Imparcial newspaper in the western border state of Sonora, disappeared after saying he was going to meet a contact.

In the northern border city of Matamoros last August, assailants beat newspaper columnist Francisco Arratia Saldierna to death, fracturing his skull, breaking his hands and damaging his spine before dumping him from a moving vehicle.

Gregorio Rodriguez, a photographer who worked for El Debate newspaper in the neighboring state of Sinaloa, was killed on Nov. 28, 2004, apparently because he had taken a picture of a local drug trafficker. Rodriguez was gunned down by several armed men while he was having dinner with his family at a local restaurant.

On June 22, 2004, in the city of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California, gunmen ambushed and killed Francisco Ortiz Franco, an editor of Zeta, a weekly newspaper that often reports on the drug trade.

And in Nuevo Laredo in March 2004, the news editor of El Manana newspaper, Roberto Mora, was stabbed to death by an assailant who was himself later killed in prison, the AP reports. V.A.

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