Mexico asks the United States to extradite the mastermind behind the murder of a journalist

Mexico has asked the United States to extradite the alleged mastermind behind the murder of journalist Javier Valdez, who was murdered in May 2017, the attorney general’s office said on Saturday, after his release from prison.

Damaso Lopez Serrano, a drug trafficker known by the nickname “Minilic”, is accused of having ordered the murder of Javier Valdez, a renowned journalist and AFP collaborator who notably covered drug trafficking. Lopez Serrano was released Friday, according to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.

He had surrendered to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in July 2017 and cooperated with US authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence. The attorney general’s office said it “will insist on obtaining his extradition to Mexico” and that he was working with Interpol on this request.

The journalist’s widow, Griselda Triana, said she was outraged by the release of Lopez Serrano by the United States. “Minilic, who paid 100,000 pesos (nearly 5,000 euros) to kill him, will now work for the American government”she was indignant on Facebook. “The United States protects the murderers of journalists! Let’s not allow it!”

Mexico has imprisoned two people in connection with the murder of Javier Valdez: Heriberto Picos, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2020, and Juan Francisco Picos, who was sentenced to 32 years in prison in 2021.

Javier Valdez was shot dead in his car on May 15, 2017 in the town of Culiacan (north-west), near the offices of Riodoce, the weekly he helped to found.

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