The popular Mexican banda music singer Valentin Elizalde is another recent 27. Elizalde was ambushed and murdered along with his manager and driver after performing at a fair in Reynosa, Mexico, November 25, 2006 (Reynosa is across the border from McAllen, Texas). A van followed his Chevy Suburban, and once it was within range its passengers pumped more than seventy bullets from semi-automatic weapons, nailing Elizalde with eight slugs. The hit was most likely related to an ongoing drug feud between the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels over smuggling routes to the US.
Shortly before his death, somebody posted a provocative montage on YouTube that featured photos of assassinated Gulf cartel members set to Elizalde’s hit song “A Mis Enemigos,” which translates to “To My Enemies.” Elizalde was born in the Sinaloa region and once wrote a tribute song to its leader in the style of narcocorridos, songs about the deeds of narco traffickers that resemble old folk songs about real-life rum smugglers and gangsters.
It’s speculated that the killing was orchestrated by Los Zetas, a rogue group of Mexican commandos hired by the Gulf Cartel (The US Army’s School of the Americas in Georgia once trained many of Los Zeta’s officers—dangerous and well-equipped people who are now responsible for hits on US soil, kidnapping DEA agents, and shoot-outs with the US Border Patrol.) According to the BBC, more than 2,000 people died from Mexican drug cartel violence in 2006.
Valentin Elizalde was known as “El Gallo de Oro,” the golden rooster, and released ten albums between 1998 and 2006. He was found in the backseat of the car clutching his trademark rooster pendant that he always wore on a necklace.
In 2007, Elizalde was posthumously nominated for a Grammy for Best Banda Album.