MEXICO CITY • His music videos paint a vivid portrait of street life in Mexico in all its gritty detail.
But rapper Christian Omar Palma Gutierrez, 24, also worked for a drug cartel on the quiet. Now, his image is in tatters after his arrest in connection with the deaths of three film students.
Investigators said he confessed to dissolving their bodies in acid as part of his work with the cartel, according to news reports.
The three victims disappeared while working on a school project in the western state of Jalisco.
Officials said they were killed after unwittingly filming at a property connected to a rival group to the powerful gang that Gutierrez is believed to have worked for, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Chief investigator Lizette Torres told Agence France-Presse that Gutierrez had also participated in three other murders.
As a rapper, his videos garnered millions of views on YouTube and he was scheduled to perform at a music festival in the border outpost of Tijuana yesterday.
But he is now in protective custody in jail after confessing to the authorities, raising concerns about the danger he faces from the cartel, the Associated Press reported.
Gutierrez seemed to understand the treacherous stakes of the life he lived. In a music video set in a cemetery, he raps: "If tomorrow I'm not here, I want to tell you how much I regret all that I did, all that I said. Mum, dad, forgive me, I couldn't escape the darkness."