Cartel Leader Known as ‘The YouTuber’ Got Busted Thanks to a Music Video

The Mexican Army never knew just how easy it would be to find a major criminal target. The whereabouts of Ricardo Ruiz Velasco, known as “Double R,” one of the alleged leaders of the violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, was revealed in a narcocorrido music video.

Ruiz is apparently fond of throwing huge parties for narcocorrido singers, who write ballads about drug-traffickers and their trade. He likes to invite guests such as Luis R. Conríquez, who authorities refer to as a Jalisco New Generation Cartel exclusive singer. The Mexican Army was watching Conríquez, according to a document leaked by hacker group Guacamaya, and all they had to do was to wait for Ruiz’s next party. 

On June 25, the government learned that Conríquez had traveled to a ranch in the mountains between the states of Jalisco and Zacatecas, a region ravaged by violence between warring drug cartels, according to the leaked document. The army eventually learned that Conríquez was at one of Ruiz’s parties at a private ranch. During his visit, Conríquez recorded a music video and posted several clips of it on his Instagram account. The Mexican Army managed to identify the place from Conríquez videos, but didn’t act at the time. 

“That same day, a [narco] convoy of around 20 armored vehicles made their way to a ranch at the border of Jalisco and Zacatecas,” the document said. 

Two months later, in August, the Mexican Army tried to capture Ruiz. But his men fought back and launched a series of attacks in Guadalajara, leading him to be released by the authorities, according to news reports from the time. 

Images shared on Twitter showed at least one bus burning and several armed men carjacking people at stop lights. In another clip, alleged members of the CJNG are seen lined up in a caravan, firing their high-caliber weapons in the air. 

Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the attacks in August began after a meeting by several cartel members was interrupted by the Mexican military which “arrived to make several apprehensions.” Mexican authorities said there were 14 men arrested during the shootouts, all alleged members of CJNG.

Ruiz, also known as “The YouTuber,” is said to be the man behind the Jalisco Cartel New Generation’s propaganda videos, which often feature armed men dressed in uniforms with the cartel initials “CJNG” stamped on their bulletproof vests. 

Mexican authorities have pointed out Ruiz as the top commander for the CJNG operating in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, and Colima. Ruiz is also under investigation for the killing of Venezuelan model Daisy Ferrer in 2012 as well as the murder of former Jalisco State tourism secretary José de Jesús Gallegos in 2013. 

Singer Conríquez’s relationship to CJNG has been flagged before, especially following the release of his song “Las Hazañas Del Doble R” (The Exploits Of Double R), where he details Ruiz’s operations for the cartel. 

On Wednesday, Conríquez’s representatives made a public statement on social media regarding the recent allegations denying the “exclusivity” of Conríquez to CJNG, as the leaked documents state.

“What has been published by several media outlets is hurting the honor and reputation of Luis R. Conríquez,” the letter said. 

Early in November, Conríquez’s YouTube and Instagram accounts were taken down allegedly for celebrating a criminal organization. 

“They took our channel down, my people. All the new music I just had posted and had worked on since my beginnings disappeared just like that in a single day,” said Ruiz on a TikTok video. 

The documents detailing how Ruiz was arrested following the filming of the narcocorrido video were leaked after a security breach at Mexico’s Defense Ministry, and published by a group called Guacamaya. The leak is one of Mexico’s biggest, and is composed of more than 4 million confidential documents, mostly emails, from inside the Mexican government. 

The hack released more than six terabytes of confidential information revealing criminal organizations, confidential military tasks, and personal information on Mexico’s president.

VICE US