Grupo Arriesgado threatened by CJNG: The battle for control in Tijuana’s music scene

The threats that the popular group suffered from the four letter cartel led them to cancel a presentation in Tijuana, however, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ruled out banning narcocorridos in Mexico
  1. Grupo Arriesgado, a regional Mexican group, received threats from the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) before their scheduled performance in Tijuana.
  2. The group’s fusion of traditional norteño style with tumbado has earned them a growing fanbase and the anger of criminal organizations due to their reference to rival groups in their lyrics.
  3. The conflict highlights the ongoing battle for control of Tijuana’s drug trafficking routes and territory between rival criminal organizations and raises questions about the freedom of expression for musicians in Mexico.

Detonations at an autograph signing and narco mantas attributed to CJNG were the warnings that Grupo Arriesgado received last weekend to prevent them from performing at the Chevron Stadium in Tijuana in the state of Baja California.

Here you are not on your land or with your people. Your time to leave Tijuana is numbered,” reads one of the messages that the cartel headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, better known as El Mencho, sent to Panther Bélico, vocalist of Grupo Arriesgado.

After the violent events and threats that the regional Mexican group received, the government of Baja California issued the instruction to suspend their presentation in Tijuana. This situation generated great controversy due to the different homicides of which singers of the genre, such as Valentín Elizalde or Chalino Sánchez, have been victims. Ironically, this mishap also put Grupo Arriesgado on the map to the extent that even President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned them in his traditional morning conference assuring that narcocorridos will not be banned in Mexico.

Who are Grupo Arriesgado?

The members of Grupo Arriesgado are originally from Sinaloa (Instagram/@grupoarriesgadooficial)
The members of Grupo Arriesgado are originally from Sinaloa (Instagram/@grupoarriesgadooficial)

Who are Grupo Arriesgado?

With a fusion of the traditional norteño style with tumbado, Grupo Arriesgado has slowly made its way into the music industry in northwest Mexico.

Grupo Arriesgado is integrated by Arturo González “El Panter,” who is the vocalist and plays the accordion; César Rodríguez, second voice; Jesús Cuadras, electric bass; César Soto, on the bajo sexto and Ángel de León as the drummer.

The regional Mexican group is originally from Costa Rica, Sinaloa. According to the media La Voz de la Frontera, it was in November 2020 that the confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the members to form Grupo Arriesgado.

“We all knew each other through friends in common. We are from the same ranch in Costa Rica and were a product of the pandemic. We got together to work, and people began to know that we played and started talking to us. Thank God we were working during the pandemic,” said Arturo Gonzalez to the media mentioned above.

Although they have been in the band for a relatively short period, their compositions have already taken them to conquer great stages in the north of Mexico and the United States, such as the United Palace in New York.

Grupo Arriesgado has 979 thousand followers on its official Instagram profile and more than 282 thousand subscribers on its official YouTube channel.

Among the most popular songs of the regional Mexican group are Bélico el Asunto (44 million plays), Enloquecido (30 million plays), El Fugitivo (28 million plays), El Yuko (12 million plays) and Ismael (10 million plays).

Grupo Arriesgado was threatened by the CJNG (Instagram @grupoarriesgadooficial/Twitter @Regi0nalMexican))
Grupo Arriesgado was threatened by the CJNG (Instagram @grupoarriesgadooficial/Twitter @Regi0nalMexican))

Grupo Arriesgado’s peculiar style has led them to begin to accumulate a large number of fans. However, their compositions have also angered criminal organizations that do not agree with the corridos they perform, such as the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

As a group originally from Sinaloa, some of Grupo Arriesgado’s lyrics refer to exploits or characters that have stood out within the so-called Pacific Cartel, which Ismael El Mayo Zambada and Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán founded.

However, following the capture and extradition of El Chapo to the United States, some criminal organizations – such as the one headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes – have sought to ascend and control drug trafficking. This situation has sparked a dispute between the two criminal groups for territory and drug trafficking routes.

As Tijuana is a border city and one of the main drug trafficking routes to the north of the country, it is not surprising that members of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG), were displeased that a group whose songs refer to their rival group would perform in a territory they are seeking to control. However, this premise is only speculation to explain the violent events that Grupo Arriesgado went through last weekend.