3 Arrested in Connection to Killing of Journalist Lourdes Maldonado López

Authorities in Mexico arrested three suspects Tuesday for their alleged connection to last month's killing of reporter Lourdes Maldonado López.

Maldonado López, 68, was fatally shot in the face while in her car in the border city of Tijuana on January 23 and was the second journalist killed there in one week. In a news conference three years earlier, she raised concerns about journalist killings to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying she feared for her life.

López Obrador confirmed the arrests of three individuals in Baja California for their connection to the crime, he said during a Wednesday press conference.

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between Baja California state investigators and the federal government, López Obrador said. The suspects' identities have not been released.

Mexico's sub-secretary of public safety, Ricardo Mejía, called the three individuals "presumed material co-authors," but did not provide details about the killing and did not mention a motive for the shooting during Wednesday's press conference.

Mejía said the trio allegedly took a taxi to Maldonado López's neighborhood hours before the shooting, waiting for her to come home. He gave detailed information to reporters about the taxi's movements followed by surveillance and photos.

Baja California Attorney General Ricardo Iván Carpio Sánchez said at a press conference Wednesday that investigators may still be looking for others who may be involved and it's "not ruled out there may be more."

"We are obliged to ensure that there is justice in the country and that impunity is not allowed," López Obrador said.

Mexico's Secretary of Public Safety Rosa Icela Rodriguez said the search warrants and arrests were issued during an investigation that involved the National Anti-Kidnapping Coordination, the National Intelligence Center, the Ministry of Security, the Interior Ministry and the Navy.

Mexico is considered one of the deadliest places for journalists to work outside of active war zones, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.Maldonado López was one of four journalists killed since the beginning of this year in Mexico. In the same week of her death, journalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel was fatally shot.

3 Arrested in Connection to Journalist Murder
Police in Mexico have arrested three suspects in connection to the killing of journalist Lourdes Maldonado López, the third journalist to be killed in the country over the past few weeks. The above image shows the shadow of a police officer arresting an unrelated suspect on September 23, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Martínez Esquivel was shot three times outside his Tijuana home as he left for work. At the time of his death, he was covering crime and security and working as a "fixer" assisting other outlets including the Union-Tribune and international outlets like the BBC.

The two other reporters killed this year in Mexico were Jose Gamboa in the eastern state of Veracruz and Roberto Toledo in the western state of Michoacan. There have been 148 reporters killed in Mexico since 2000.

Activists have said that criminal groups, drug gangs and corrupt officials are suspected of carrying out several of the killings of journalists in Mexico, Reuters reported.

Update 02/09/22, 3:15 p.m. ET: This article was updated with more information.

Update 02/09/22, 2:50 p.m. ET: This article was updated with more background information and details about the arrests.