A Mexican teenaged YouTube star, famous for drinking himself into oblivion in his viral videos, was shot to death Monday after he insulted a notorious drug kingpin.
Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales, 17, of Sinaloa, a Mexican state, grew up too fast. The teenager dropped out of high school and moved out at age 15 to Culiacan, The Washington Post reported. The teenager made his living by washing cars before he became known on the internet as “El Pirata de Culiacan” which translates to “The Pirate of Culiacan.”
Lagunas became engrossed in a hard-partying lifestyle that became his brand. The teenager’s videos of him chugging beer and liquor eventually went viral and he started to gain a following. By the time he turned 17, the Mexican teen had hundreds of thousands of followers on his Instagram and more than a million on Facebook. His newfound fame got him featured roles in music videos.
The teenager, in a rush to be identified as an adult, tattooed himself, drew a beard on his face, drank excessively despite the drinking age in Mexico being 18, and posted photos of him with guns, scantily clad women and expensive rides.
However, the rising star was not ready for what was about to occur. Lagunas posted a video recently of insulting Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” one of the country’s most notorious drug kingpins, the U.S. Government declared.
In the video, Lagunas said “El Mencho a mi me pela la verga” which loosely translates to “suck my c---.”
It was not immediately clear why Lagunas singled out “El Mencho” in his video.
On Monday night, Lagunas was enjoying a night out at a bar in Jalisco with a group of friends when a squad of young men busted into the establishment and shot the social media star between 15 to 18 times, killing him, Raul Sanchez Jimenez, Jalisco’s attorney general, said.
Mexican authorities were investigating if Lagunas’ criticism of “El Mencho” had something to do with his death. So far nobody has been arrested and a motive was not named, the Daily News reported.
El Mencho’s cartel, the New Generation, which was founded less than 10 years ago, made its fortune by “stealing gas, kidnapping, extortion and selling guns,” The Washington Post reported. The group has also been tied to thousands of murders, the Rolling Stone reported. Many of those murders were traced back to “El Mencho” who was allegedly a police officer at some point in his life.
"El Mencho" was indicted in a U.S. federal court on "charges of drug trafficking, corruption and murder, and currently has a $5 million bounty on his head," the Rolling Stone reported.
The YouTube star’s death comes on the heels of one of Mexico’s deadliest years on record. The country averaged some 69 murders a day, according to Reuters. Laguna’s death also gained attention from Rolling Stone, Univision and from musicians who previously featured him in their videos.
“There are a lot of people who criticize him, but the truth is . . . that’s why ‘El Pirata’ got started,” Luis Adame, of Último Escuadrón, said. “Everyone in their own way tries to find a way to get ahead.”
Beto Sierra, an Instagram star, remembered his friend Laguna as “cheerful” and encouraged him to drink less.
“He told me that he wanted to change, but on the weekend, there was no lack of bad influences,” Sierra wrote on his Instagram.
“You were living a fast life you never listened, and I don’t judge you,” he wrote. “Those who knew you know you were a good person.”