Regional Mexican music singer abducted and killed in Veracruz

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

Michel Gómez Santos (age 30), murdered

Last week, Regional Mexican music singer Michel Gómez Santos (age 30) was kidnapped and found dead an hour later in the municipality of Cosoleacaque, Veracruz. According to police reports, gunmen abducted him from his home and took him to a different location where he was shot dead. The assassins remain at large and no motives have been established.

Gómez Santos was the owner and lead singer of the local music band Grupo HEGO, and had played for various other music bands in the past. The area where he was killed is a major battleground for the rival forces of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and Los Zetas. Extortion, kidnappings, and murders against civilians are common in the area.

Background

Gomez Santos was born in Minatitlán, Veracruz, Mexico in 1990. He was the owner and lead singer of Grupo HEGO, a Regional Mexican music band. He had also played for various other local music bands in the past. According to his Facebook page, Gomez Santos enjoyed Japanese food, chicken wings and was a fan of his local paintball team known as Club Airsoft Sharks Minatitlán.

Assaults and murders against Mexican musicians are a common theme in the country’s ongoing drug war. In the past, many musicians have been killed by drug gangs for their alleged ties to organized crime, for singing certain ballads glorifying the underworld (songs known as narcocorridos), or sometimes simply for refusing to play more songs to an audience. Anything can get a musician killed in today’s violence-torn Mexico.
Michel Gómez Santos playing at a local concert (Photo: Facebook)
However, in this case in specific, Borderland Beat analyzed several songs played by Gómez Santos’s band and did not find any that may fall under the genre of a drug ballad.
In addition, the state of Veracruz, where Gómez Santos was murdered, is a major battleground for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and Los Zetas. As a result of the dispute, extortion, kidnappings and murders are high in the area. Last week, Borderland Beat reported that a local police chief was killed in Veraruz for refusing to support the CJNG’s operations in the area. 
Kidnapping and murder
Gómez Santos was kidnapped at around 3:00 p.m. on 16 March 2020, when armed men driving a grey-colored truck forcibly took him from his home in Naranjito neighborhood in Cosoleacaque. An hour later, his body was found in 7 de Mayo neighborhood. Witnesses called paramedics to the scene after reporting seeing a corpse with apparent gunshot wounds abandoned in a nearby lot.

Victim’s corpse, as found by paramedics
A few minutes later paramedics and police officers arrived to confirm the corpse. It was confirmed that Gomez Santos was shot and killed at this second location. Relatives and friends of the victim arrived minutes later to officially confirm his identity. His body was taken to a local morgue and was reclaimed by his family members, who held a wake and funeral in his memory.
His murder shocked the local music community in Cosoleacaque and Minatitlán. On social media, local musicians, family members, friends and citizens of his town issued their condolences and asked authorities to arrest those responsible for the murder. No motives have been established and the perpetrators of the murder at currently at large and unidentified. 
Sources: For better readability, the sources were linked in the body paragraphs above. Most are from local outlets in Veracruz, Mexico.

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