A tribute to Javier Valdez in Guadalajara.HECTOR GUERRERO / AFP
More than three years after the murder of the reporter Javier Valdez, the case becomes entangled in the bureaucracy of the judicial system of Sinaloa, in Mexico.
A few days ago, the judge again postponed the hearing against Juan Francisco Picos, alias
, the alleged perpetrator of the murder.
This time it was due to Internet connection failures.
Due to the pandemic, the session had to take place virtually, but the connection to the network in the prison prevented it.
Víctor Martínez, lawyer for the Valdez family, explains that this hearing has already been postponed six times since December 2018. The intermediate hearing is an important step in the process, because it is the moment when the prosecution reveals its catalog of evidence for the judgment.
Valdez was assassinated in May 2017 in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa.
Renowned for his work on the region's mafias, the reporter was shot dead in the middle of the street.
One of the gunmen was El Quillo, according to the indictment.
El Quillo was part of the group of hitmen allegedly hired by one of the arms of the Sinaloa cartel.
Arrested in August 2017 for a case unrelated to Valdez's, the authorities located El Quillo months later, confined in a prison in Baja California.
Martínez explains that the judge who hears this part of the case "has promised" that the intermediate hearing be held before the end of September.
To avoid problems with the prison's Internet service, this time it will be in person, at least with the accused.
Aware of the prison bureaucracy and the times of justice, the lawyer has his doubts that the session will be this month.
Javier Valdez's widow, Griselda Triana, criticizes the times of justice, but points out the reasons that sustain them.
“More than a year ago, it was postponed because the Quillo defenders went on vacation.
It is an example of how the justice system of our country works ”.
Of the four accused of the journalist's murder, El Quillo is the second to face the process.
The first was Heriberto Picos, alias El Koala, who reached an agreement with the prosecution and pleaded guilty in February.
He will spend 14 years in jail.
According to the prosecution, El Koala was the driver of the vehicle that transported the hit men.
El Quillo is one of the gunmen.
The other is called Luis Ildefonso, alias
Martínez explains that "El Diablo appeared dead at the end of 2017, but his identity was not confirmed until the end of 2018: he had appeared burned in Sonora."
These years there has been speculation about the motive for the murder of El Diablo.
The lawyer says that "it could be linked to the murder of Valdez, but it could also be linked to the problems of his criminal cell."
What seems clear is that the three were hired by Dámaso López Serrano, alias El Mini Lic. López Serrano is the son of Dámaso López, alias El Licenciado, a person very close to Joaquín
After the latter's arrest, his extradition to the United States, and his conviction, two formerly allied factions of the Sinaloa mafia began to fight.
One commanded by Guzmán's children and another by the Mini Lic, protected by their father.
Valdez wrote several articles about that fight in 2017. In fact, the investigation indicates that it was some of those articles that upset “the people of El Dorado,” the town from where Damaso, his son and the rest of his people were dispatched.
The process against the Mini Lic could take years, however.
López Serrano turned himself in to the US authorities in July 2017. And in 2018 he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.
Justice has not yet imposed a sentence on him, which could mean that his lawyers continue to negotiate with the authorities of that country.
Since it was delivered, El Mini Lic has become a protected witness for US security agencies.
For Griselda Triana, "López Serrano must pay his penalties in the United States."
“But I am concerned about his status there.
As far as I know, he is being held, but I don't know, I think they could just release him.
I am concerned about what his father has negotiated in the trial against El Chapo in terms of benefits for his son, ”says Triana.
Arrested days before Valdez's murder, Dámaso López Sr. was extradited to the United States.
In 2018, the justice sentenced him to life imprisonment for drug trafficking.
Triana fears that, in the process brought against him by the prosecution in the United States, he would negotiate some benefits for his son, who surrendered months later.
When he has had the opportunity, El Licenciado has tried to exonerate his son from the murder of the reporter.
During the trial against El Chapo, in which he appeared as a witness, the drug trafficker accused Guzmán Loera's children of the attack on Valdez.
For the lawyer Martínez, “Dámaso's statements in El Chapo's trial continue to be the statements of a father trying to unlink his son from a murder.
Because except for his sayings, there is no information that can corroborate it ”.