A judge on Tuesday sentenced Francisco Picos Barrueta, alias El Quillo, for the murder of journalist Javier Valdez. Killed in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in May 2017, Valdez was one of the most prominent reporters in northern Mexico. From the pages of your magazine, Rio Doce, Valdez documented the adventures of the Sinaloa cartel and the factional fight that followed the arrest and extradition to the United States of El Chapo Guzmán that same year.
El Quillo is the second convicted in the murder case of the journalist. In 2020, Heriberto Picos, alias El Koala, accepted a 14-year sentence for complicity with the murderers. It was he who drove the car in which El Quillo was traveling. Close to one of the factions of the Sinaloa criminal group, led by Dámaso López, El Licenciado, and Dámaso López Serrano, El Mini Lic, El Quillo was the one who pulled the trigger. The judge will decide in the coming weeks the sentence of the convicted person.
The team of lawyers representing Griselda Triana, Valdez’s widow, released a statement this Tuesday congratulating itself on the ruling. “After a month of oral trial in which 58 evidence was uncovered, including witnesses, experts, documentary and material evidence, offered by both FEADLE [la fiscalía encargada de casos de libertad de expresión] As for the legal advice in charge of the Propuesta Cívica organization, the full participation and guilt of Picos Barrueta was demonstrated, ”the letter reads.
The lawyers emphasize that the judge has linked the murder of the reporter with his journalistic work. “The judge established that Valdez was a victim of homicide as a result of his journalistic investigations. It was also possible to identify the probable intellectual author of the crime, he is a drug trafficking leader, an important link in the criminal pyramid pending in this investigation, ”the statement said. The lawyers refer to El Mini Lic, currently a prisoner in the United States. In July 2017, El Mini Lic surrendered to the US courts to collaborate in open cases against members of the Sinaloa criminal group.
According to the accusation, it was El Mini Lic who organized the attack against Valdez. In the statement, the attorneys point to various posts by Valdez in Rio Doce. “In the trial (…) the report published in Issue 745 of the weekly Rio Doce dated May 7, 2017 [en el que] Valdez published and signed the note entitled ‘Dámaso and the school of the great giver’, through which he makes a critical comparison between Dámaso López Núñez and Dámaso López Serrano, El Mini Lic, whom in a few words he points out as a person without capacities to fill his father’s position as leader of the people of El Dorado ”.
In January 2020, the Attorney General’s Office obtained from a judge an arrest warrant against El Mini Lic, pending compliance. The secrecy about his collaboration with the US authorities makes it difficult to know if his extradition to Mexico will occur in the near future. The lawyers have indicated: “The case is not yet closed, the authority needs to continue with the lines of investigation regarding the mastermind, the execution of the arrest warrant issued since January 2020, the efforts of the Mexican Government to be expedited to achieve his extradition and that there is comprehensive reparation for the damage to the victims ”.
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