“Up with Criminality!” someone shouts into a microphone.
“Long live Jalisco New Generation!” comes another cry, celebrating one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.
The Mexican news outlet Milenio on Tuesday aired video of what it said was a wild, liquor-drenched narco-party in Mexico’s maximum-security Puente Grande prison in the western state of Jalisco.
The crowded prison, home to more than 6,000 inmates, holds many participants in Mexico’s continuing drug wars.
The facility’s most notorious former resident is Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, former head of the Sinaloa cartel, who escaped from Puente Grande in 2001 with reported help from prison guards and administration.
Presiding over the revelry captured on video at Puente Grande is “Don Chelo,” also known as “Glass Eye,” an inmate who is awaiting trial on arms possession and other charges and is said to be the boss of the lockup, Milenio reported.
Don Chelo’s real name, the news outlet reported, is Jose Luis Gutierrez Valencia, 48. He was arrested in 2010 in Puerto Vallarta in possession of a mini-arsenal — including a grenade launcher, five grenades, two assault rifles and six pistols.
Among the musical combos providing on-site entertainment for the prison bash is a group introduced as Los Buchones de Culiacan, a well-known act whose repertoire includes corridos, or ballads, and videos about Mexico’s violent cartel culture.
The video went viral in Mexico and generated numerous sarcastic comments on social media questioning officials’ oft-stated commitment to cracking down on drug traffickers.
“Can it not be more clear that [authorities] are linked to the narcos and that the arrests are a farce?” asked one respondent on Milenio’s website.
Milenio reported that the merrymaking at Puente Grande was taped between December 2015 and March 2016.
The embarrassed state attorney general of Jalisco, Eduardo Almaguer, held a news conference to confirm the authenticity of the video.
But he said the festivities were filmed in 2013 as a father’s day celebration with the permission of the then-prison warden, who was subsequently sacked for “various irregularities.” Almaguer noted the party took place before he was Jalisco’s top prosecutor.
Still, he said, authorities are investigating the incident and the apparent participation of Los Buchones de Culiacan, which he said is based in Los Angeles. Almaguer said he had contacted Mexican immigration authorities about the group.
A representative of Los Buchones de Culiacan, reached by telephone, declined to comment.