Mexico will "get tough" in demanding the United States extradite a suspect in the murder of a journalist

 Mexico intends to "get tough" in its demand for the States to extradite the alleged United mastermind journalist behind the murder of Javier Valdez, the Mexican attorney general said Saturday, after the accused was released from a US prison.

Mexican authorities accused drug smuggler Damaso Lopez Serrano, known as "Menelik", of ordering the 2017 murder of Valdez, an award-winning journalist with AFP who covers the drug trade.

According to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, Lopez Serrano was released Friday.

Lopez surrendered to the US Drug Enforcement Agency in July 2017 and cooperated with authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence.

On Saturday, the attorney general's office said it would toughen its demand for his "extradition to Mexico",

The office added that the US Department of Justice orally informed him that Lopez Serrano was still "on trial for other crimes", and that the extradition proceedings had not yet been completed.

Valdez's widow, Griselda Triana, expressed outrage at the US release of Lopez Serrano.

"Menelik, who paid 100,000 pesos to kill him (Valdez), will now work for the US government," she said in a Facebook post.

"The United States protects the killers of terrorists! Let's not allow that!"

Mexico has prosecuted two people in connection with Valdez's murder: Heriberto Pecos, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2020, and Juan Francisco Pecos, who was sentenced to 32 years in 2021.

Valdez was shot and killed in his car on May 15, 2017, in the northwestern city of Culiacan near the offices of the weekly newspaper Ríodos, which he helped found.

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