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Monday, December 14, 2009

Ramón Ayala Performing for Cartel

Ramon Ayala reportedly at ‘drug party' raided by Mexican navy

Musician scheduled to host Hidalgo's 10th annual posada Wednesday

The Monitor

McALLEN — The Mexican navy arrested 11 purported hit men at a party believed to be attended by Grammy-winning norteño icon Ramon Ayala, who is scheduled to host his 10th annual posada in Hidalgo on Wednesday.

Authorities raided the gathering in Tepoztlán, Mor., on Friday, according to a news release from the Mexican navy. The men arrested are believed to be members of the powerful Beltrán Leyva drug cartel. Three hit men were shot dead amid the clash between the navy and the suspected cartel members.

The cartel is run by the five Beltrán Leyva brothers, who were formerly aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel and are now allied with the Zetas, a Miguel Alemán-based paramilitary organization founded by former members of Mexican special forces. Historically, the Zetas have been considered the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, but they have grown in power to the point that they now operate as an independent cartel in their own right.

Navy officials could not be reached Saturday for additional information about raid on the party.

Attempts on Saturday to reach a local representative listed on Ayala’s official Web site were unsuccessful.

Mexican media reported that undercover officers infiltrated a narcofiesta, or drug party, in the Limones colonia of Tepoztlán. Nearby residents said a shootout between the officers and partygoers began about 1:30 a.m. Friday, according to Mexico City- based newspaper El Universal. Neighbors told the newspaper that a woman identified as Patricia Terroba de Pintado was among the dead.

Citing unofficial reports, El Universal said the alleged criminals had organized the party, which included several norteño groups and at least 20 prostitutes.

According to the statement from the Mexican military, the navy also seized more than $280,000 in cash, 20 firearms, 700 rounds of ammunition and 74 ammunition clips.

Friday’s raid comes just days before Ayala’s scheduled performance in the Rio Grande Valley for what has become an annual holiday tradition in the region.

The 64-year-old Monterrey native has teamed up with Hermes Music Foundation and the city of Hidalgo for the 10th year in a row to host a posada in Hidalgo.

A posada is a Christmas festival celebrated in Latin America that dramatizes Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in anticipation of the birth of Jesus.

The charity event begins with a Mass and a re-enactment of the Nativity. Throngs of Valley families then line up outside the Ayala residence on Texano Street in Hidalgo for toy giveaways. Ayala caps the night with a free musical performance.

Hidalgo city officials said Saturday that the event was set to go on as planned, despite Ayala’s alleged link to the drug cartel.

However, organizers will ultimately decide during a meeting Tuesday whether to continue with the show, Hidalgo City Manager Joe Vera said.

"I have not spoken to the man," he said of Ayala, "and I’d rather not speculate."

"Everything is scheduled to go," Vera said.

The men arrested during Friday’s raid are:

Roberto Jaime Hernández, 56.
Nicéforo Nava Carvajal, 53.
Mario Alberto Vázquez Piñal, 28.
Eduardo Alejandro Carballo Guillen, 30.
Antonio "El Tony" Ruíz González, 63.
Gerardo "El Leo" Gómez Guevara, 35.
Alberto "El Beto" Juárez Caro, 28.
Rogelio "El Zulú" Ramos Arias, 31.
Ignacio "El Mocho" Domínguez Corrales, 38.
Roberto "El Beto" Adame Rodríguez, 27.
Carlos Eduardo Martel Delgado, also known as "El Charli," 36.

The group was transferred to a naval base in Mexico City via Navy helicopters, according to the military statement. They will be transferred to the Mexico attorney general’s organized crime division.

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