A Mexican Youtube star killed execution-style had told a notorious local drug lord to “suck [his] d**k” in a video days earlier. Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales, a 17-year-old social media star also known as “The Pirate of Culiacán,” was known for making videos of his drinking binges. In one such recent video, Rosales insulted Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the head of the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco. “El Mencho can suck my d**k,” the teen said, while clearly heavily intoxicated.
On December 18th, Rosales was out at a bar with friends when four armed men believed to be associated with the New Generation Cartel walked into the bar and started shooting at him. The Youtuber died after being hit by between 15 and 18 bullets, and a 25-year-old employee of the bar was also killed in the shooting. Law enforcement officials are unsure whether the New Generation Cartel was truly responsible for the killing, but they are investigating a possible link.
Rosales’ death is one of many drug-related murders this year; 27,000 people were murdered in Mexico in 2017, and many of these murders are thought to be linked to drug violence. After drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was jailed and extradited to the United States in January, the violence has only gotten worse, with smaller, more violent groups vying for supremacy.
The New Generation Cartel is one such group. The cartel is less than a decade old, but it has made a name for itself in Mexico’s underworld with its focus on methamphetamine trafficking and its brutal murders. The cartel has established strong trafficking routes on six continents, and have gained unparalleled influence in Mexico after El Chapo’s arrest. But little is known about Cervantes, the group’s elusive leader. Although he is one of Mexico’s most wanted felons (with a $5 million dollar bounty on his head) his past is largely a mystery, and a former DEA agent describes him as “kind of a ghost.”
Rosales is remembered for his self-deprecating humor and his party-hard lifestyle. After leaving home at the age of fifteen, he moved to Culiacan province and washed cars to make a living. He became popular on social media for making videos of binge-drinking, often getting so drunk that he would pass out. In an article for Univision, reporter Fernando Mexía described him as “a broken toy of cyberspace.”
Although the teen was proud of his reputation as a wild partier, there were some hints in the past year that he was trying to leave that life behind him. In an interview with radio host Pepe Garza back in July, Lagunas admitted that his critics might have a point and said, “sometimes I go too far.” He also told Univision that he wanted to sober up and possibly pursue a musical career. A friend and fellow Instagram celebrity Beto Sierra reported that Rosales wanted to change, “but on the weekend, there was no lack of bad influences.”
Sierra is one of many mourning the teen on social media. In his statement on Instagram after his death, he wrote, “You were living a fast life . . . you never listened, and I don’t judge you. Those who knew you know you were a good person.”
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