“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat
Narrator: The DEL Records label reached the top thanks to the song ‘Ella Baila Sola’, performed by one of its members along with the artist Peso Pluma, who just won his first Grammy. In contrast, the owner of the Californian record label, José Ángel del Villar Ramírez, went through a difficult time. The Department of Justice accuses him of having done business with Jesús Pérez Alvear aka Chucho, a concert promoter in Mexico who was booked in 2018 for allegedly laundering money for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Del Villar pleaded not guilty, but his attempt to have the case dismissed has failed.
Ángel Del Villar: For me it is important to always be an honest and transparent person.
Narrator: One of the prosecution’s star witnesses is the narco ballad singer Gerardo Ortiz. His name had been kept anonymous, but was recently revealed in court documents. The criminal process appears to revolve around a concert that Gerardo Ortiz gave at the Mexican fair in San Marcos, Aguascalientes in 2018. A few days before, Ortiz had been approached by FBI agents at the Phoenix airport, where they warned him about the accusations against the promoter Perez Alvear.
Anyway, Ortiz traveled by private jet to the San Marcos fair and collected $100,000. The legal defense of Del Villar, owner of the record label, suffered a setback in March 2023, when his partner Pérez Alvear signed a plea agreement. In this document, the promoter states that he secretly communicated with Del Villar using prepaid phones and that he suggested that he obtain a false invitation letter for Gerardo. Alias Chucho also signed other artists to the Del Records label.
The profits were more than 1.5 million, according to authorities. The Department of Treasury accused Pérez Alvear of laundering illicit money from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel using massive musical events as a front. The music promoter, who accepted his guilt, faces a sentence of up to ten years in prison. However, Del Villar’s case is still ongoing. Bank records, emails, WhatsApp messages, wiretaps, and audio recordings are evidence that the Prosecutor’s Office claims to have.
In addition, it was revealed in a hearing that the FBI managed to place a listening device in Del Villar’s office, at the DEL Records record label facilities in the city of Bell Gardens, California. The list of possible witnesses for the trial includes a drug trafficker, whose name is kept secret and who claims to have moved drugs with Pérez Alvear.
Angel del Villar was born in Zacatecas and when he was 10 years old he emigrated to the United States. He had companies in the construction industry, when in 2008, without having had any connection with the business, he founded the record label DEL Records.
Ángel del Villar: I believe that in 10 years we, as a company, as independents, have achieved many things and we want to tell people that it is possible. You can project your dreams, right?
Narrator: Del Villar refused to grant an interview to Univisión Noticias. The singer Gerardo Ortiz didn’t respond to the messages sent by us. The DEL Récords label is still active representing singers of the regional Mexican genre.