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Mexican Journalist, Who Survived 1997 Assassination Attempt, Dies of Natural Causes

A Mexican journalist famed for his hard hitting reports on drug trafficking has died. Jesus Blancornelas, who barely survived an assassination attempt almost exactly nine years ago, passed away due to natural causes in Tijuana early Thursday morning. KPBS reporter Amy Isacskson has the story.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1997, gunmen linked to Tijuana’s Arellano Felix drug cartel tried to kill Jesus Blancornelas. During the attack, Blancornelas’s bodyguard died. Blancornelas was badly injured. However, the attack did not hinder his journalism.

Blancornelas continued to write probing and critical stories about drug trafficking and politics in Tijuana. He founded Tijuana’s weekly newspaper Zeta in 1980. His work has been recognized worldwide with numerous awards.

In recent years, Blancornelas was largely confined to his home because of concerns for his security. In one of his last interviews, he said he’d like to talk to the woman he suspects now heads the Arellano Felix cartel to ask why her brothers wanted him dead.   

A statement from Zeta says Blancornelas died due to chronic illness. He was 70. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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