Friday, March 5, 2010

3 Musicians Face Drug, Arms Charges

Three Mexican Musicians Face Drug, Arms Charges

Three Mexican musicians, two of them with the band Torrente and the other with Los Cadetes de Linares, are under arrest on drug and weapons charges, while four other members of those bands were detained but then released, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The musicians, along with Ramon Ayala, were arrested in December while they were performing at a party thrown by the Beltan Leyva drug cartel.

Besides the musicians, federal law enforcement personnel who raided the party also arrested 11 members of the Beltran Leyva cartel who are also facing drug and arms charges, the AG’s office said.

The leader of the group Los Cadetes de Linares, Guadalupe Fidencio Tijerina Peña, as well as two membes of that band – Gustavo Guerrero Garcia and Jorge Luis Verastegui Lerma Cantu – were released on Wednesday.

Jose Francisco Garcia Cortes, a member of Torrente, was also released.

The members of the group were arrested along with Ayala, the winner of four Grammys, in a navy operation at the residence where the party was taking place.

The musicians were hired to provide entertainment at the event, which was also attended by the cartel’s top kingpin, Arturo Beltran Leyva, and his chief gunman, Edgar Valdez Villareal.

Marines arrested 11 cartel members, but the two leaders managed to escape.

Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed a few days later by marines in an assault on an apartment where he had holed up.

Ayala was released in December due to health reasons, but Los Cadetes remained under preventive detention, which was extended by a judge.

In recent years, different Mexican performers have been tapped to participate at the so-called “narco-parties” of drug trafficking cartels and some – like Paquita la del Barrio – have acknowledged that they have entertained there.

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