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Mayoral candidate launches lawsuit against magazine editor after publication of article linking him to drug traffickers

(CEPET/IFEX) - Mauricio Fernández Garza, the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) mayoral candidate for the municipality of San Pedro Garza García, in the state of Nuevo León, northern Mexico, has filed a lawsuit against Ramón Alberto Garza García, the editor of the online magazine "Reporte Índigo".

On 12 June 2009, "Reporte Índigo" disseminated a report that included an audio recording of a conversation in which Fernández Garza was speaking to a group of voters. During the conversation, Fernández Garza apparently admits to having met with members of the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel and having reached an agreement with them regarding the "control" of the municipality and the implementation of a public security plan.

On 15 June, Fernández Garza announced that he was filing a lawsuit against Garza García and whoever else was responsible for the information that was disseminated about him in "Reporte Índigo". The PAN candidate also said that, prior to publication of the information, the journalist attempted to extort 480,000 pesos (approx. US$35,800) in advertising from him.

In an interview with CEPET, Fernández Garza acknowledged that the audio recording publicised by "Reporte Índigo" is authentic, but he said that his statements were purposely edited and taken out of context. When asked specifically about the supposed attempt at extortion, he admitted that Garza García did not personally ask him for money, but that the request arrived via other individuals, the last of which was Guillermo Martínez, a member of the campaign team of Fernández Garza's main rival, who presented himself as a "Reporte Índigo" representative.

Fernández Garza said that, if necessary, he would also file a lawsuit against Alfonso Romo Garza, a partner of Garza García's, whom he referred to as being the owner of "Reporte Índigo". The PAN candidate called Garza García "demented" and a "delinquent".

CEPET repeatedly tried to contact Garza García to obtain his version of event, but has been unable to reach him. However, on 16 June, "Reporte Índigo" issued a statement via various media outlets calling on the public to listen closely to the audio recording in question in order to arrive at their own conclusions regarding the PAN candidate.

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