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How the ‘death’ of mining execs was planted in Mexican press

February 18, 2013


A Mexican journalist has confirmed that the news of two foreign mining executives supposedly found dead in the Rio Santa Rosa was planted in the local press last week.

“We were fed a story, and many of us ran with it,” Antonio Neri Johnston of local Spanish-languague daily El Occidental told The Dallas Morning News last week.

Neri said he received a call from a man identifying himself as a municipal police officer from Hostotipaquillo, Jalisco, where the bodies were said to have been found. The alleged cop told Neri that the bodies had been recovered in the Santa Rosa river, along with a briefcase containing documents pertaining to Michael Davies and Derald Johnston, the respective CEO and treasurer of U.S. mining firm Southridge Minerals Inc.

“Whoever did this knew what they were doing,” Johnston said. “They called us, got the story in public. They needed these people dead, part of a fairy tale.” Neri ran the story, along with several other local reporters who were contacted in a similar manner.

“The strange thing is, they called me, but also other colleagues,” Neri confirmed. “In retrospect, I should have verified the information more because Mexico is still a great place to disappear, especially in that part where killings are very common. Impunity is so high that nothing is ever solved, or clarified. We live in a country of rumors.”

As reported last week, the Hostotipaquillo municipal government and the Nayarit Attorney General’s Office – which was reported to be in possession of the bodies – denied all knowledge of the story when contacted by the Reporter.

Southridge has not commented on the case and no one answers the phone listed at the company headquarters in Dallas. Further investigation by The Dallas Morning News and confirmed that Southridge’s Dallas headquarters does not exist.

Southridge also lists Guadalajara offices on its website at Avenida Patria 358, Floor 5, Suite 30, but there is no fifth floor on said building and the phone number listed is not in service.

It is unclear exactly who would benefit from the world believing that Davies and Johnston are dead, but, as previously reported, Southridge has been linked with involvement in past trading scams and had its stock temporarily suspended in December 2012 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

WFFA speculated that the death of the executives was “a hoax designed to escape from investors back home,” while The Dallas Morning News said they could be “ghost” executives who never even existed.

Just days after the supposed death of Southridge’s two main executives, a press release declared the firm had sold its concessions to the Cinco Minas to Minera San Jorge, a Mexican company with no current address, website or working phone number. Southridge’s ownership of the Jalisco mine was disputed by Canadian mining firm Bandera Gold.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. American Guy permalink
    February 18, 2013 21:07

    So, what would be so difficult about driving a couple of hours over from
    Guadalajara to Cinco Minas and let us know if you see production there?

  2. February 18, 2013 21:14

    As I said before we’re short staffed as it is and unfortunately we really don’t have the time or the resources to send someone over there. Given the fact that all of the offices were non-existent, and having seen the photos and video from the International Safety and Security Firm report, I think it’s extremely unlikely that there’s been any activity at the mine.

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