Assassins have placed a bounty on the head of the author of a popular Facebook page dedicated to posting detailed but unconfirmed security updates about Mexico’s drug-torn Tamaulipas state.
The administrator of the Facebook page, who is anonymous, says he or she will not stop providing the information.
The page Valor por Tamaulipas, or Courage for Tamaulipas, has captured the attention of purported cartel members who are offering a reward of 600,000 pesos or $47,000 to anyone who can give specific information about the anonymous administrator or family members, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Valor por Tamaulipas was anonymously founded in January 2012 and has over 160,500 likes and over 24,000 Twitter followers.
The page acts as an online message board, routinely posting photos from crime scenes around the state that document the ongoing drug war that has crippled cities like Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Victoria. The photos, purportedly taken by regular citizens, are of crime scenes – including photos of abandoned cars, roadside fires, federal soldiers and police personnel in action. It reminds people to contact police contact in case of emergency.
Mexico’s drug cartels are ruthless when it comes to silencing anyone spreading information they disagree with – or just reporting about the drug war. About 70 journalists were killed in Mexico last year – almost half were hunted down and murdered, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Since 1992, 971 journalists have been killed in Mexico, according to CPJ.
Earlier this month, the Facebook administrator posted a photo of the bounty flier.
“This is just free expression but aside from that, good money, for shutting the mouths of [profanity] like these [profanity] who think they are heroes,” the bounty flier said in Spanish.
In a long response, the administrator responded to the flier denying assertions he or she is a hero. The person vowed to continue posting on his page.
“I’m not trying to be a hero ... I do my part as a citizen and member of society to challenge organized crime that poses threats to the stability of our state and our country,” the response read.
The administrator would not immediately comment when reached by Fox News Latino.
Another Facebook page, called Anti Valor Por Tamaulipas, was started soon afterward denouncing the other page – claiming the information it provides “is not a benefit to the community.” The rival site has 11, 244 likes.
In an interview with Mexico's El Universal, the administrator said he believes the Gulf cartel is behind the rival website. The person would not confirm or deny whether his or her Facebook page was a front for the Mexican military.
But, the administrator said, the realities of the drug war – and the inability of journalists to accurately cover it because of the dangers they face – make the page a necessity.
"The conditions in our country don't allow for traditional media outlets to do their jobs without putting their employees at risk," the administrator wrote to El Universal."Besides, in our state, there are cases of journalists who decide to cooperate with organized crimes if the opportunity is presented to them."