by: Ian Silver Updated:
TULSA, Okla. - A Mexican band performing in Tulsa Friday night has local law enforcement on edge because of suspected ties with Mexican drug cartels.
El Komander will be performing Friday night, and FOX23 learned thousands are expected to attend. FOX23 also found out from law enforcement that Alfredo Rios, the leader of the band, might just be here to spread messages to cartel members.
“Everywhere he goes it seems that trouble seems to follow him. And he’s still under investigation by Mexican authorities,” an undercover agent said to FOX23 about the group.
The music style is called "narco corrido." The agent with Tulsa County Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force said violence often erupts during or after El Komander’s performances.
“Kind of like hip-hop or rap. Narco corrido is songs about cartels and cartel life,” said the agent.
But it’s about more than music.
“(It’s) a way for cartels to use singers to pass messages to other members of cartels or other cartels or rivals,” he said.
A sample of the lyrics:
“My friends, keep going, keep going. The war has now opened. Everybody maintain your posts. Put your vests on. Grab your grenades and start throwing them. Keep your teammates armed. The killing has just started. Cartels united is the new movement. El Mayo is the new commander. He’s the new head. El Shappo supports him. Together we’re strong.”
Maj. Tom Huckeby heads the Violent Crimes and Drugs Task Force and is worried the point of the show is to bring a message to local cartel members.
“I mean, there is cartel dope here in Tulsa without a doubt,” said Huckeby.
And the music.
“That movement scares me just a bit. Based on the culture that he sings about, which is drugs and Sinaloa and cartel and violence, then, you know, when you do things like that violence tends to follow that. Whether it will happen here or not, we’ll have to wait and see,” said Huckeby.
While El Komander denies any direct involvement with cartels, he (El Komander) uses names of high-profile leaders.
“You have to have some kind of association with that group, otherwise they will come after you,” said the undercover agent.