Veteran journalist Javier Valdez killed in Mexico's Sinaloa

Veteran journalist Javier Valdez killed in Mexico's Sinaloa

Valdez, a veteran reporter who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime, was slain Monday, May 15 2017, in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in one of the world's most risky countries for media workers.

The government official in the northern state of Sinaloa says Javier Valdez was killed Monday in the state capital, Culiacan, near the offices of his newspaper, Rio Doce.

Website sinembargo.mx reported that several bullet casings had been found at the crime scene, and that authorities had not yet issued official information about the murder.

Valdez worked for the national daily newspaper La Jornada and the local weekly Riodoce. He also won an International Press Freedom award in 2011.

Valdez is at least the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since early March.

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Mexico is one of the most unsafe places to be a journalist, with the vast majority of attacks on the press unpunished.

He was killed when unidentified attackers opened fire on his auto in the city of Culiacan where Valdez was working, the RioDoce website reports.

"The state must respond to these circumstances", said Sinaloa prosecutor Juan Jose Rios at a rowdy news conference. "We condemn the Culiacán killing of Javier Valdez, Riodoce director, exemplary journalist, integral man, committed to his country", he wrote.

The cartel is believed to be responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the USA via Mexico.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that he had ordered an "investigation of this outrageous crime". The former is a look at the relationship between journalism and organized crime, and the latter chronicles the lives of young people swept up in Mexico's criminal underworld.

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"Javier's murder is an attack on independent journalism not just in Sinaloa, but in Mexico as a whole", said CPJ's Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen.

"Sinaloa, Valdez's home state is infamous in Mexico's drug world", Carrie says.

Mexico ranks third in the world for the number of journalists killed, after Syria and Afghanistan, according to media rights group Reporters Without Borders.

Valdez belonged to a rare breed of Mexican reporters who refuse to be silenced through bribes or threats of violence.

Sinaloa has always been a drug trafficking center and is home to the Sinaloa Cartel headed by notorious kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is in a NY prison awaiting trial on multiple charges.

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Last Wednesday, the federal Attorney General's Office replaced the head of its division responsible for investigating journalist killings.

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