Controversy surrounds Mexican journalist’s arrest for money allegedly hidden in gum containers

Mexican journalist Alejandro Suverza was arrested in the Mexico City airport, allegedly carrying $57,000 inside packs of gum and other items, El Universal reports.

According to the Mexican government, Suerza was on his way to Cali, Colombia, when they found the U.S. dollars inside packs of gum, deodorant, a camera case, and the soles of his shoes.

Journalism organizations in Mexico complained on social media, Milenio reports, arguing that the case should fall under the “Agreement for News Coverage of Violence,” which was signed last month.

Alejandro Páez, a former editor at El Universal, defended the journalist, and said Suverza was working on a book about drug trafficking in Mexico, specifically The Michoacan Family. “I’ve seen him interviewed with Héctor Aguilar Camín and Carmen AristeguiHe’s participated in meetings and colloquiums on drug trafficking coverage and he wrote…an enormous quantity of texts that show the horrors of the war on drugs…And now he is in prison," wrote Páez, in a blog post on Día Siete.

He says the Suverza always traveled with money, and his editors would have likely advanced him a stipend to cover his travel and living costs.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.