A CEO of a Latin music firm in California and an associate are accused of doing business with a Mexican event organizer having links to drug gangs in Mexico.
Angel del Villar, 41, the owner of Del Records and the talent agency Del Entertainment, and Luca Scalisi, 56, Del Entertainment’s senior financial officer, were arrested on Wednesday morning.
Del Villar, of Huntington Beach, and Scalisi, of West Hollywood, were charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and appeared before a judge in the United States District Court in Los Angeles on the same day.
Scalisi was freed on a $35,000 bail, while Del Villar was released on $100,000 bond. The arraignments for both men are scheduled for July 20.
The criminal complaint also accused a third person, identified as Jess Pérez, 37, of Morelos, Mexico. He might be in Mexico, according to federal investigators.
In April 2018, the Department of Treasury classified Pérez as a narcotics trafficker for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization.
In exchange for security, he was accused of laundering drug gang cash by presenting concerts in Mexico through his firm Gallistica Diamante.
According to prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Pérez promoted Del Entertainment performances until March 2019.
According to the complaint, on April 19, 2018, FBI agents approached a well-known Mexican regional artist known only as Individual A and instructed him not to do business with Pérez at performances he sponsored because he had been designated under the Kingpin Act.
Individual A, on the other hand, disregarded the FBI’s warning and performed at a Pérez-organized performance on April 28, 2018.
Del Villar’s credit card was used to hire a private plane to take him from Van Nuys Airport to the event in Aguascalientes, Mexico, according to prosecutors.
The singer went on to play at four more Pérez-sponsored concerts in the Mexican towns of Mexicali, Salamanca, Chiapas, and San Jose Iturbide in 2018 and 2019.
‘Individual A acted on the orders of Del Villar, Scalisi, and Perez, or with their knowledge,’ according to the Department of Justice.
If convicted guilty of breaching the Kingpin Act, Del Villar and Scalisi may face a maximum term of 30 years in jail.
In the meanwhile, Pérez might face a ten-year jail term.