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Latin Band Arrested During Drug Cartel Holiday Party Raid

Is it a crime to perform for a drug cartel's holiday party? This is a question that may have been a beneficial research point for Latin Grammy winner Ramon Ayala. He and his band hit the floor when the Mexican military raided a recent performance.

According to a recent news report, Ayala and his band, Los Bravos del Norte, were detained after the raid. When he spoke publicly after his arrest, the norteno accordion player said he had no idea he had been booked to play at a private home or a drug gang’s holiday party.

While Ayala has not been charged with a crime and reports that Mexican authorities have told him he is no longer under investigation for ties to drug trafficking, a spokeswoman for Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office said the investigation into possible links between drug traffickers and Ayala continues.

According to Ayala, he and his band were home in south Texas when a booking agent called about a job December 10 near Mexico City. The clients offered to fly the band from another event in western Texas to Mexico City.

The raid began in the pre-dawn hours of December 11. The band made its way into a bedroom as gunfire broke out and waited there until troops found them. Crying out for the troops to not shoot, one of the marines finally recognized the members of the band.

As Ayala and his band has played a number of special events in the past, he admits they never should have gone to Mexico without knowing who was involved. The band was not in the habit of asking about hosts or the audience, but would likely change that practice.

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