UPDATED with Del Records statement: Two top executives at an LA-based Latin music conglomerate were arrested by FBI agents today on charges that they conspired to violate the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act by conducting business with a concert promoter with ties to Mexican drug cartels.
Angel del Villar, CEO of Del Records and its subsidiary talent agency Del Entertainment, and Del Entertainment CFO Luca Scalisi, are named in a criminal complaint that accuses them of “conspiracy to transact in property of specially designated narcotics traffickers in violation of the Kingpin Act .”
Both men made their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Del Villar was ordered released on $100,000 bond and Scalisi was ordered released on $35,000 bond. Their arrangements have been scheduled for July 20.
In a statement to Deadline on Wednesday, Del Records said:
“Angel del Villar is a self-made and widely respected music executive who has built a successful entertainment company that produces some of the most beloved Regional Mexican music in the industry. Luca Scalisi has been an executive with the DEL companies for almost 10 years. The suggestion that they would knowingly be involved in anything related to illegal narcotics is absurd. We believe the allegations stem from complaints of a disgruntled former business partner, and Mr. del Villar and Mr. Scalisi look forward to clearing their names.”
Founded in 2009, locally-based Del Records bills itself as “the most successful Latin independent entertainment label in Regional Mexican music today.”
A third defendant – Jesus Perez Alvear of Cuernavaca, Mexico, was also named in the complaint, although his whereabouts are unknown. Perez is a music promoter who controls Gallistica Diamante, aka Ticket Premier, a music promotion business in Mexico. In 2018, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated him and his company as “specially designated narcotics traffickers,” alleging that he and Gallistica Diamante acted “on behalf of Mexican drug cartels” by “facilitating money laundering and an international prostitution ring.”
According to the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, Perez promoted concerts in Mexico for Del Entertainment until March 2019, even though his designation as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” prevents people in the United States from doing business with him and his company.
The complaint alleges that on April 19, 2018, FBI agents approached a well-known musician, referred to in the complaint only as Individual A, and “explicitly told Individual A about Perez’s designation under the Kingpin Act and how that prohibited him from conducting business with Perez and performing concerts that Perez promoted.”
Even so, on April 28, 2018, Individual A performed at a music concert which Perez organized. According to the complaint, Del Villar’s credit card was used to pay for a private jet that brought the musician from Van Nuys Airport to the performance in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
On four other occasions in 2018 and 2019, Individual A performed at concerts in Mexico – in Mexicali, Salamanca, Chiapas and San Jose Iturbide – all of which Perez promoted. According to the US Attorney’s office, “Individual A acted at the direction or with the knowledge of Del Villar, Scalisi and Perez.”
If convicted of violating the Kingpin Act, Del Villar and Scalisi would face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, while Perez would face up to 10 years in prison.