Francisco Javier Ortiz Franco was murdered in broad daylight by two masked individuals in the capital of Lower California state, a border town that is a transit point for drug trafficking to the United States. He was 48 years old. He had carried out several reports into cases of drug-trafficking and local corruption.
In July 2004, after a month of investigation, the weekly Zeta published a list of people suspected of involvement in the murder. The conclusions were the same as those of the Lower California prosecutor’s office, but no suspect was charged.
The local courts on 18 August 2004 transferred the investigation to the federal justice system, responsible for fighting organised crime. The justice minister sporadically spoke about supposed progress in the investigation, but despite these, often vague, announcements, no-one has ever been arrested or tried for instigating the killing.
Two years after the murder, it remains unpunished. No procedure has really led anywhere and no trial has taken place.
The killing was the third directed against Zeta, after one which cost the life of journalist Héctor Félix Miranda, on 20 April 1988, and a failed murder attempt against the editor of the weekly, Jesús Blancornelas, on 27 November 1997.