Reporter beaten to death in lawless, drug-riven northern Mexico

Mexico City: A journalist was beaten to death in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas on Tuesday, local prosecutors said, becoming the third reporter in Mexico to be killed in the past two weeks.

The body of Hector Gonzalez, a local correspondent for national daily newspaper Excelsior, was found in the state capital Ciudad Victoria, the Tamaulipas attorney general's office said in a statement.

Gonzalez is at least the sixth journalist to be killed this year in Mexico, where violence has surged to record levels.

Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous countries for reporters. Last year, 12 reporters were killed there, according to free-speech advocacy group Article 19.

Bordering Texas, Tamaulipas is one of the most lawless states in the country, and has long been ravaged by turf wars between gangs to control drug-trafficking and crime rackets. Another reporter was found dead in the state in January.

Local state prosecutors said they were still investigating what was behind the murder of Gonzalez, who covered security matters in Tamaulipas, among other subjects.

Murders reached a record high in Mexico in 2017, and there were more murders in the first four months of this year than in the same period last year, according to official data.

The spike in violence has battered the popularity of President Enrique Pena Nieto and fueled support for leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who leads public opinion polls ahead of elections on July 1.


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