A Mexican YouTube rap star whose hit list includes a song titled “Death Has No Schedule” has confessed to dissolving the bodies of three film students in acid, who were murdered after they were mistaken for members of a rival crime cartel.
Christian Omar Palma Gutierrez, also known as “QBA,” told investigators from the Mexican Attorney General’s office that he obliterated the remains of Javier Salomon Aceves, 25, Jesus Daniel Diaz, 20, and Marco Garcia Avalos, 20, on orders from the drug cartel he worked for, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the international news agency Agence France Press reports.
According to chief investigator Lizette Torres, Gutierrez also “has participated in three other previous murders,” the AFP report says. He faces aggravated kidnapping charges.
The murdered students attended the University of Audiovisual Media in Guadalajara. They were working on a project at a farm on the outskirts of the city that belonged to one of their aunts, the Associated Press reported. But the house had also been used by a rival group, the Nueva Plaza gang, and the aunt has been arrested on prostitution and money laundering charges.
Hit men from the New Generation cartel were watching the farm, the prosecutor’s office told to the AP, and mistook one of the three students for a Nueva Plaza leader, Diego Gabriel Mejía, “El Diego.” On March 19, the hitmen, posing as police detectives, pulled the students over while they driving and kidnapped them.
The sicarios took the three students to a house, and tortured the one they believed was El Diego, but soon realized their mistake. Then they killed all three.
The crime has sparked outrage in Mexico, where the students’ disappearance is seen as representative of the approximately 30,000 people who have been disappeared in the country’s ongoing drug wars. On Thursday, thousands of Mexicans took to the streets in protest.
“Words can’t describe the dimension of this madness,” Oscar-winning Mexican movie director Guillermo del Toro wrote on Twitter. “Three students are killed and dissolved in acid. The ‘why ‘ is unthinkable, the ‘how’ is terrifying.”
"How sad," the actor Gael Garcia Bernal Tweeted. "It's time for this nightmare to end."
Other Twitter users created a hastag protest, such as #nosomostressomostodos (we are not three, we are all) and #SalomonMarcoyDaniel (the victims' first names, with the Spanish "y," meaning "and") memorializing the students and demanding answers.
After the students were killed, Gutierrez was called on. He put the students into water tanks, filled them with acid, and mopped up with chlorine, prosecutors said. He had been recruited by the New Generation Drug Cartel in Jalisco three months before, and was paid a retainer of 3,000 pesos — about $159 — a week for his services.
Gutierrez’s YouTube channel, QBA official, has nearly 125,000 subscribers and millions of views. Most of the videos are professionally shot, and feature poor neighborhoods, drugs, weapons, luxury vehicles, motorcycles, 40-ounce bottles of beer, gun molls and young tattoo-covered men posing as gangsters.
One video depicts him with blood on his hands, dragging a bound, bloody and hooded victim into a house, before setting fire to him.
Five suspects in the film students’ killings remain at large.