Mexican YouTube Star Shot Dead After Insulting El Mencho, Leader Of Cartel As 'Brutal As Isis'

A 17-year-old Mexican YouTube star has been shot dead in a bar weeks after he insulted a notorious drug cartel leader in a video.

Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales, known by his stage name "El Pirata de Culiacán" (the pirate of Culiacán), gained a following after he started posting videos of himself drinking heavily and telling jokes. He quickly rose to fame and appeared in music videos of local bands.

In one of his latest videos, posted in November, he is seen insulting cartel boss Nemesio Ocegera Cervantes, also known as "El Mencho," a fugitive with a $5m (£3,7m) bounty on his head.

"El Mencho a mí me pela la verga," said Rosales in an expression inviting the drug lord to "s**k my d**k."

Rosales was last seen in a bar in the city of Zapopan, Jalisco state, on Monday (December 18), where he was shot dead as he was partying with his friends, local media said.

Several heavily armed men stormed the bar and shot the teenager dead. His body was riddled with between 15 and 18 bullets, according to El Pais newspaper. Another man, a 25-year-old member of staff was also killed.

The attackers then fled the scene.

Authorities identified Rosales because of his tattoos, the attorney general of Jalisco, Raul Sanchez Jimenez, told local media. He said investigators are following several leads, including one related to the video in which he insulted El Mencho.

"There is much criticism of drug lords and cartels by Mexicans on social media. The difference with El Pirata de Culiacan is that he was a social media star with more than a million followers on various platforms," Andrew Chesnut, an expert on Mexican cartels and Professor of Religious Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University told Newsweek.

"So his inebriated insult to one of Mexico's top capos was potentially heard by millions of Mexicans. Moreover, the insult referred to homosexual fallatio, which in hyper-machista Mexican narco culture is intolerable," he continued.

"Another factor that sealed the fate of El Pirata is that Tlaquepaque, the town where he was partying when executed, is right next to Guadalajara, the headquarters of the cartel headed by El Mencho."

Rosales, was born in Villa Juarez, in the state of Sinaloa, and grew up with his grandmother. He later moved to Culiacán and started washing cars to make a living.

El Mencho is the leader of the Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación (JCNG). He has been involved in drug trafficking for decades, according to U.S. officials.

He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin in the U.S. in 1994 and served nearly three years in prison. He then returned to Mexico, where he continued to engage in drug-related activities.

Mencho has been described as a brutal leader whose savagery is extreme even by narco standards. Thousands of murders have been linked to him and his group. A source who investigated the cartel told Rolling Stone earlier this year: "This is ISIS stuff. The manner in which they kill people, the sheer numbers—it's unparalleled even in Mexico."

JCNG originated as a cell working for notorious drug kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, and later became one of the most powerful groups in the country, according to El Pais.

Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales
Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales, known by his stage name "El Pirata de Culiacán," the pirate of Culiacán, gained a following after he started posting videos of himself drinking heavily and telling jokes. He was shot dead in a bar in December, weeks after he insulted a notorious drug cartel leader in a video. Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales/ Facebook

U.S. government officials said the group is now operating in states other than Jalisco and has "developed its ties to other criminal organizations around the world, including in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia."

Mexico has seen a surge in the rate of murders this year. There were more murders in the country in the month of October than in any other month over the past 20 years, according to Reuters.

President Pena Nieto acknowledged the extent of the problem in a speech earlier this year. "It has to be said, we're still not satisfied, and we still have lots more to achieve," he said. "Security needs to remain an utmost priority for the government."