BY Pedro Servin, Associated Press

Paraguayan journalist shot to death

A Paraguayan journalist was shot to death in a crime-ridden northern city bordering Brazil, authorities said Friday.

Police said 28-year old Gabriel Alcaraz was hit by 17 bullets when returning home from work on Friday. He worked for radio station Amambay in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, about 370 miles (595 kilometers) north of the capital of Asuncion.

The unidentified suspects fled on a motorcycle and prosecutor Samuel Valdez said the attack is under investigated.

“In these types of cases, eventual witnesses don't help much,” Valdez said. “They prefer to remain silent fearing retaliation.”

Paraguay's porous northern border with Brazil is a hotbed for drugs and arms trafficking.  Anti-drug chief Luis Rojas estimates that more than 100 gangs, made up of Paraguayan and Brazilian drug dealers, operate in the northern region of Amambay.

In 2010, Amambay radio station owner and local politician Roberto Acevedo was injured when a group of gunmen opened fire, piercing his car with more than 60 bullets. His driver and one of his body guards were killed.

In the wake of Alcaraz's death, Acevedo said Friday he feared for all journalists reporting along the northern border. A photographer working for the local government's press office was killed in similar circumstances in April 2013.

“With this latest crime, no journalist will want to talk about drug dealers, who are all devils,” he said. “With Alcaraz we used to talk about how dangerous it had become to inform about drug dealing activities this side of the border. Our city of Pedro Juan Caballero seems more and more like Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.”

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Source: Associated Press via ABC