An emerging star in the Mexican music scene is dead, and it is believed to have been at the hands of drug cartel gunmen. The body of Jesus Norberto “Chuy Montana” Cardenas Velasqez was found on Wednesday on the side of a Tijuana road.
The performer reportedly received threats from criminal elements in the violence-torn country.
Investigators believe the assailants used their vehicles to cut off Montana’s path as he was driving. They apparently handcuffed him and forced him into the vehicle.
The singer was able to jump out, but at that point he was shot several times in the face and chest. Authorities raced to the scene only to find the gunmen had fled.
Chuy Montana is the latest casualty in the explosion of violent crime in Tijuana. Cartels are fighting to gain the upper hand in controlling the region, and left in their wake are bodies of their victims and heartbroken survivors.
As for Montana, he appears to be a tragic result of the lifestyle his art promoted.
His craft was a musical genre called Corridos Tumbados, which tends to glorify the criminal world and sing the praises of luxury cars, cash and women that it says accompany such a life. The music is now mainstream in Mexico and is increasingly heard in the U.S.
Montana was initially discovered performing on the Tijuana streets before he rose to fame.
He was signed by Street Mob Records, which is owned by the lead singer of the influential Mexican group Fuerza Regida. Jesus Ortiz Paz revealed on TikTok last year that he signed Montana to a contract while he was waiting to cross into the U.S. from Tijuana to San Ysidro.
Ortiz said he introduced himself to Montana by singing “Porte de Scarface.” The single was released in 2023 by the up-and-comer and had over 22 million plays on Spotify.
Montana had garnered more than 800,000 monthly listeners on the platform.
The label issued a statement on Instagram expressing regret for the singer’s death. “We stand in solidarity with his family during this time of grief. We kindly request understanding and respect from the media at this difficult moment.”