LATimes: Video: How Mexican Marines blasted into El Chapo’s hide-out in a volley of gunfire

January 11th 2016 — More cinematic touches to the already-incredible story surrounding the recapture of fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman emerged Monday, when authorities released a video of the raid on the house where Guzman was holed up with his henchmen. The assault on the house in Los Mochis, Mexico, started just after […]

LATimes: Actress Kate Del Castillo urged ‘El Chapo’ to use his power for good, brokered meeting with Sean Penn

January 1oth 2016, Deborah Bonello — Mexican film and TV actress Kate Del Castillo has long been a household name in her home country, known for playing tough female roles and speaking out on social issues. She also has openly expressed admiration for drug kingpins — she played one in her most famous role — and once urged Joaquin “El […]

LATimes: ‘It was like an action movie,’ neighbors say of El Chapo’s capture in Mexico

9th January 2016, Cecilia Sanchez, Deborah Bonello and Tracy Wilkinson — His house was nothing special, a single-story, tree-shrouded home in a middle-class neighborhood in this seaside city. And there the world’s most sought-after drug kingpin hid for months until his capture in a deadly shootout. Neighbors noticed his comings and goings, but without special attention. […]

LATimes: Drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman captured in deadly shootout after six months on the lam

January 8th, Cecilia Sanchez, Deborah Bonello and Tracy Wilkinson — In a deadly, predawn shootout, Mexican naval special forces on Friday captured Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s most sought-after drug lord and commander of a vast narcotics empire that stretches across continents. “Mission accomplished,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on his Twitter account. “We’ve got […]

LATimes: A mayor in Mexico is shot dead a day after taking office

January 6 2016 — Gisela Mota was sworn into office as mayor of the small city of Temixco in the state of Morelos on New Year’s Day, after promising to help free the small town from the grip of organized crime. Less than 24 hours later, the 33-year-old politician was dead — the latest of […]

LATimes: Mexican marijuana farmers see profits tumble as U.S. loosens laws

LATimes: Mexican marijuana farmers see profits tumble as U.S. loosens laws

“I’ve always liked this business, producing marijuana,” the 50-year-old farmer said wistfully. He had decided that this season’s crop would be his last.

LATimes: In Mexico’s Guerrero state, priests are a prime target for drug gangs

LATimes: In Mexico’s Guerrero state, priests are a prime target for drug gangs

November 29th 2015 – Father Oscar Prudenciano Gonzalez opened his arms wide to his congregation on a recent Sunday morning in the San Gerardo church of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero. “We are going to pray for those families who have missing people,” he said. “That God gives them the strength, the peace and the […]

LATimes: Satirical Mexican news show on YouTube goes where TV won’t

LATimes: Satirical Mexican news show on YouTube goes where TV won’t

October 29 2014 — Long before drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped from a maximum security prison in July, Internet comedy star Chumel Torres had joked with viewers that they should lay bets on when it would happen. More than a million Mexicans subscribe to Torres’ YouTube channel, El Pulso de la Republica, the country’s most […]

LATimes: Government’s handling of Hurricane Patricia is a rare bit of good news for Mexico

October 25 2015, Manzanillo, Mexico, Alan Zarembo, Deborah Bonello, Cecilia Sanchez — Skies are clear, highways are flowing with traffic and airports across the western coast of Mexico are open. The official death count from the strongest hurricane ever measured in the Western Hemisphere: zero. Continue reading on LATimes.com.

LATimes: Former TV comedian sweeps to power in Guatemalan presidential race

LATimes: Former TV comedian sweeps to power in Guatemalan presidential race

October 25 2015, Guatemala City, Anna-Cat Brigida and Deborah Bonello — Jimmy Morales, a political neophyte and former TV comedian, swept into office as Guatemala’s new president Sunday when more than two-thirds of voters backed him in a second round of polling in presidential elections. Fed up with a political system infected with corruption, nepotism and […]

LATimes: Mexicans express relief and begin cleanup from Hurricane Patricia

October 24 2015, Manzanillo, Mexico. Alan Zarembo, Deborah Bonello, Cecilia Sanchez — Across Mexico, residents and tourists exhaled in relief and began cleaning up Saturday after the remnants of Hurricane Patricia blew toward Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Packing record 200-mph winds and rated a Category 5 storm before coming ashore, Hurricane Patricia barreled […]

LATimes: Record-setting Hurricane Patricia slams Mexico’s Pacific Coast

October 23 2015, Deborah Bonello, Alexandra Zavis — The Western Hemisphere’s most powerful hurricane on record roared into Mexico on Friday, knocking down trees and light posts, closing schools and airports, and sending people fleeing the popular resorts and small fishing villages that dot the country’s central Pacific coastline. There were reports of flooding and […]

LATimes: In Mexico City, a body hanging from a bridge portends a shift in violence

LATimes: In Mexico City, a body hanging from a bridge portends a shift in violence

October 21 2015 — The dead man’s body was bound up like a mummy, his hands roped behind his back and his head covered with a black sack. Tied by the waist, he was discovered dangling shoeless from a bridge over a busy street around 5 a.m. Monday — a shocking sight for thousands of […]

LATimes: ‘El Chapo’ is wounded but not caught as Mexico’s military roars into terrified villages

LATimes: ‘El Chapo’ is wounded but not caught as Mexico’s military roars into terrified villages

Three helicopters swooped overhead. The biggest one, dark gray, had the face of a shark painted on it, and the emblem of the Mexican marines. She thought it was preparing to land, but instead it opened fire.

LATimes: Deadly Guatemala mudslide was preceded by hazard warnings

October 8th, Guatemala City — Anna-Cat Brigada and Deborah Bonello When her house began to shake and the lights went dark, Alba Sen Pu froze, along with her husband and four children. A few minutes later, after the rumbling, shaking and screaming had stopped, Sen Pu, 32, told her husband she was going to check […]

LATimes: 30 years after Mexico City quake, hundreds still live in temporary camps

LATimes: 30 years after Mexico City quake, hundreds still live in temporary camps

October 5 2015 — On the 30th anniversary of the massive Mexico City earthquake, alarms rang out across the city to commemorate the disaster. But Marcia Vasquez needed no reminder of the Sept. 19 anniversary. Vasquez, now 52, still lives in the camp she was forced to move to after her apartment caved in three […]

LATimes: The families of Mexico’s ‘disappeared’ people keep searching

LATimes: The families of Mexico’s ‘disappeared’ people keep searching

October 3 2014 — The man’s voice cracked, then he sobbed as he spoke. “The government has everything and we have lost everything,” he said. “Please help us to keep looking and digging, to give us the resources we need.” Mario Vergara, 40, stood crying on a verdant hill on the outskirts of Iguala in […]

LATimes: Relatives of 43 missing students in Mexico seek answers one year later

September 25 2015 — Estanislao Mendoza was one of dozens of people to go on a hunger strike camped out on Mexico City’s Zocalo. His son, Miguel Angel Mendoza Zacarias, was one of 43 students detained and abducted the night of Sept. 26, 2014, by local police in the Mexican city of Iguala, in the […]

LATimes: Protesters in Mexico attack government office over missing students

September 21 2015 — Protesters in Guerrero, Mexico, attacked the local prosecutor’s office in the state capital of Chilpancingo on Monday, local media said, in what could be the beginning of social unrest tied to the first anniversary this week of the disappearance of 43 students. Local media reports said protesters arrived aboard several buses […]

LATimes: More arrests are made in prison escape of Mexico’s ‘El Chapo’

September 19 2015 — Thirteen more people have been arrested in connection with the July jailbreak of the world’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Few details were provided by authorities. But local media cited sources within the Mexican Attorney General’s office as saying the detained included Celina Oseguera Parra, the country’s former […]

LATimes: Who will face comedian in Guatemalan presidential runoff? It’s too close to call

LATimes: Who will face comedian in Guatemalan presidential runoff? It’s too close to call

September 7th 2015, Deborah Bonello, Anna-Cat Brigada — Guatemalans will have to wait to find out who will face TV comedian and political rookie Jimmy Morales in the next round of presidential elections. The nation’s electoral authority declared Monday that it needed more time to determine who won second place in the initial round. Sunday’s […]

LATimes: Runoff expected in Guatemala race as ex-president waits in a military jail

LATimes: Runoff expected in Guatemala race as ex-president waits in a military jail

Guatemalans voted Sunday in an unusual presidential election that came days after the incumbent president resigned and was jailed in a corruption scandal. Early results were inconclusive, but most pundits expected the election to lead to a runoff among the top finishers next month. After months of peaceful protest and a week that saw the […]

LATimes: New probe shows Mexican government was wrong about what happened to 43 missing students

LATimes: New probe shows Mexican government was wrong about what happened to 43 missing students

The Mexican government’s claim that 43 missing students were killed and burned in a local trash dump in the state of Guerrero nearly a year ago has been discredited by a six-month investigation from an international working group. The inquiry, published Sunday, also found that the police who allegedly attacked and abducted the students last […]

LATimes: Mexico’s deportations of Central American migrants are rising

LATimes: Mexico’s deportations of Central American migrants are rising

September 4th 2015, Mexico City — Mexico is on track to catch and deport thousands more Central American migrants than the United States this year, according to a new report. By the end of this year, Mexico is expected to have deported 70% more Central American migrants than it did in 2014, according to the […]

LATimes: Guatemala’s ex-president tells court he’s ‘an honest person’

LATimes: Guatemala’s ex-president tells court he’s ‘an honest person’

September 4 2015, Mexico City — Guatemala’s former president was back in front of a judge on fraud charges Friday morning after spending the night in a military jail. Otto Perez Molina went from president to prisoner on Thursday after his resignation was accepted by the nation’s Congress. The 64-year-old former general stepped down after […]

LATimes: Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina resigns in face of arrest warrant

LATimes: Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina resigns in face of arrest warrant

September 3 2015, Mexico City — Guatemalan legislators Thursday accepted the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, who this week lost his immunity from prosecution and saw an arrest warrant issued for him in connection with a corruption scandal. Perez Molina, who had said he would not resign, changed his position after the nation’s prosecutor […]

LATimes: Mexico’s Peña Nieto acknowledges ‘a difficult year’ and public anger

LATimes: Mexico’s Peña Nieto acknowledges ‘a difficult year’ and public anger

September 2nd 2015, Mexico City — Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday acknowledged that the nation has experienced a “difficult year” that has generated “anger” and damaged the public mood and trust. The first half of his presidency has been characterized by a stagnant economy, corruption scandals and horrifying human rights abuses, as well […]

LATimes: For Mexico’s Peña Nieto, the state of the union is troubled

LATimes: For Mexico’s Peña Nieto, the state of the union is troubled

September 2 2015, Mexico City — Three years into an administration characterized by stagnant economic growth, corruption scandals, hair-raising human rights abuses and an agenda of constitutional reforms that have so far failed to deliver, it’s unsurprising that the popularity of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is at an all-time low. As Peña Nieto prepared […]

LATimes: Families of the missing say they are stonewalled by Mexico state authorities

LATimes: Families of the missing say they are stonewalled by Mexico state authorities

August 23 2015, Mexico City — A candle has been burning for almost a year in the modest front room of the tiny two-bedroom apartment that Guadalupe Reyes shares with her husband, Bernardo, and their 10-year-old daughter, Tania. Next to the candle is a picture of their older daughter, Mariana. Her 19th birthday was this […]

LATimes: El Chapo’s escape from prison is good for business in his hometown

A new shipment of caps arrived at Isaias Rodriguez’s Culiacan store, black canvas with the image of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman embossed in gold on the front.

LATimes: Another death in Mexico: Man who led search for the missing

LATimes: Another death in Mexico: Man who led search for the missing

August 9th 2015 – The leader of a civilian group that has spent the last 10 months searching for bodies of 43 missing students and others in the hills of Mexico’s Guerrero state was found shot to death in his taxi, authorities said. Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was killed early Saturday night on the […]

LATimes: For reporters in Mexico, journalist’s death underscores job’s growing danger

LATimes: For reporters in Mexico, journalist’s death underscores job’s growing danger

Deborah Bonello in Mexico City August 3rd 2015 – The young photographer had fled the state of Veracruz in fear for his life to seek security in Mexico City. On Sunday, his fellow journalists mourned the loss of Ruben Espinosa, shot to death two days earlier in a middle-class neighborhood in the capital. “Killing journalists […]

LATimes: Gang killings of bus workers freezes San Salvador’s transportation system

LATimes:  Gang killings of bus workers freezes San Salvador’s transportation system

July 29 2015, Deborah Bonello & Carol Williams – El Salvador’s street gangs paralyzed the capital city of San Salvador on Wednesday as many bus drivers stayed clear of their routes after the killing of at least nine transportation workers in a challenge to the government’s crackdown on violence. Police and local media said Wednesday […]

LATimes: In Mexico, illicit “poppy” gardens feed U.S demand for heroin

Producers here in Mexico’s Guerrero state call their clandestine poppy plots “gardens.” What they raise there is highly marketable, and illicit

LATimes: In Mexico, illicit “poppy” gardens feed U.S demand for heroin

Producers here in Mexico’s Guerrero state call their clandestine poppy plots “gardens.” What they raise there is highly marketable, and illicit

LATimes: Two candidates slain amid violence ahead of Mexico’s June 7 elections

May 15 2015, Mexico City – Two candidates in Mexico’s upcoming midterm elections were shot to death in different parts of the country amid a wave of violence and intimidation of candidates ahead of balloting next month. Reporting for the Los Angeles Times. Continue reading here.

LATimes: 39 die in Mexico police shootout with suspected cartel members

LATimes: 39 die in Mexico police shootout with suspected cartel members

May 22 2015 – A gunfight between Mexican police and suspected criminals in the cartel-dominated western state of Michoacan left at least 39 people dead Friday, according to authorities and news reports. Reporting for the Los Angeles Times – continue reading here. Image: Residents walk by military personnel in Chilapa, Mexico, on May 14. (Jose […]

LATimes: Mexican town besieged by rival gangs, as police and army stand aside

LATimes: Mexican town besieged by rival gangs, as police and army stand aside

May 20 2015, Chilapa, Mexico – They arrived carrying rifles, machetes and sticks, their faces covered with ski masks and scarves. About 300 armed civilians poured into the small town of Chilapa, in the troubled state of Guerrero, on the afternoon of May 9, a Saturday, hitting people and breaking into their houses in a […]

LATimes: Internal U.S. documents detail ‘alarming questions’ about Mexico violence

The grisly discovery of more bodies and human remains in the hills of Guerrero, Mexico, raises “alarming questions about the widespread nature of cartel violence in the region and the level of government complicity,” a U.S. military report charged.

LATimes: Internal U.S. documents detail ‘alarming questions’ about Mexico violence

by Deborah Bonello May 13 2015 – The grisly discovery of more bodies and human remains in the hills of Guerrero, Mexico, raises “alarming questions about the widespread nature of cartel violence in the region and the level of government complicity,” a U.S. military report charged. The document, written by a human rights working group […]