Crime and Violence

Suspect arrested in murder of Javier Sicilia’s son

Javier Sicilia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Javier Sicilia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

01/28/14 (written by tianacarriedo) — Following an anonymous tip, on January 14, Chihuahua state police arrested Ángel Salvador Taboada Villanueva, known as “El Conejo,” in connection with the 2011 murder of Juan Francisco Sicilia Ortega, a 24 year-old university student and the son of acclaimed Mexican poet and activist Javier Sicilia. State police said that Taboada, who worked with Cartel del Pacífico Sur leader Julio de Jesús Radilla Hernández, “El Negro Radilla,” admitted to having participated in the killing of Sicilia’s son. The victim’s body was found dead in a car on March 28, 2011, in Temixco, Morelos, along with the bodies of six other youths.

To date, 21 people have been arrested for their involvement in the murder of Sicilia’s son, including Radilla, who was detained in May 2011. The Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República) offered an award of nearly $230,000 (USD) for any information that would lead to his arrest. According to a Chihuahua state police official, the suspect confessed to directly participating in four murders and to being an accessory to ten others. Reports additionally indicate that Taboada was recruited by the Cartel de Pacífico Sur while living in Chihuahua and was paid upwards of $1,600 (USD) for his criminal activities. The cell to which he belonged also included the infamous juvenile assassin, Édgar Jiménez Lugo, “El Ponchis,” who was arrested in 2010 for charges of murder, kidnapping, and trafficking cocaine.

Javier Sicilia, one of Mexico’s best-known poets, also became one of its most visible activists following his son’s murder, protesting what he sees as an ineffective government campaign against the country’s drug traffickers. To make sense of the frustration he felt after losing his son, Sicilia started Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (or “Hasta la madre!” as it is known in Mexico), one of whose goals is to put the names and faces of the thousands of victims of murders, kidnappings, and disappearances into the national consciousness. The group is also pushing the government to change course on its militarized public security strategy in favor of one that emphasizes fighting corruption and impunity.


Padgett, Tim. “Why I Protest: Javier Sicilia of Mexico.” Time. December 14, 2011.

Macías, Verónica. “Cae presunto asesino del hijo de Javier Sicilia.” El Economista. January 15, 2014.

Mayorga, Patricia. “Detienen a uno de los presuntos asesinos del hijo de Javier Sicilia.” El Proceso. January 15, 2014.

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