Ramon Ayala and Lupe Tijerina, two of the most famous accordionists in Northern Mexico, were arrested together with six other musicians on 11 December 2009
The musicians were arrested during a police raid on a party in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which was apparently sponsored by a member of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.
Ramon Ayala was released several days later, ostensibly for health reasons but more probably because he has a US passport and was making an appeal the the US authorities to get involved. He still faces potential charges, and Tijerina and the others are apparently still in jail.
According to press reports, the authorities are not alleging that they did anything but play music for the wrong people in the wrong venue.
They have been jailed on vague charges that come down to fraternizing with drug lords, though there is talk of them also being charged with money laundering following the logic that drug money might be disguised as concert revenues, though no evidence has been presented.
About the artists Ramon Ayala performs with his own band, and Lupe Tijerina performs with Los Cadetes de Linares. Both are older men, famous since the 1970s.
According to Freemuse’s source, Elijah Wald, the irony of the case is that both Ramon Ayala and Lupe Tijerina have been notable for avoiding the whole narcocorrido trend. Ayala wrote some songs about the drug trade in the 1970s, but then decided to stick to more classic corrido themes, as well as romantic and dance music.