Cumbia singer L-Gante will remain in custody on charges of threats, kidnapping, and drug possession. A judge ruled he must remain in pre-trial detention on the grounds that releasing him would pose a risk to the investigation.
District Judge Gabriel Castro ordered on Sunday that Elián Ángel Valenzuela (L-Gante’s legal name) must remain in custody. He is being prosecuted for allegedly kidnapping and threatening neighbor Darío Torres as well as kidnapping Torres’ mother, Rosa Passi. He is also facing charges of drug possession.
Castro said the charges are “credible, coherent and sufficiently important” to investigate, and appear to place L-Gante as the “probable perpetrator” of those crimes.
He said that, while “diminished,” a risk remained that Valenzuela could interfere with the investigation if released. This way, he refused the singer’s defense’s request for immediate release and changes to the charges. However, Castro said the pre-trial detention could be shortened if the artist formally requests it.
On May 27, Gastón Torres, a neighbor of L-Gante’s family in the town of General Rodríguez, Buenos Aires province, reported to the police that he had argued in a nightclub with a group of the singer’s friends known as “the Mafily” (la Mafilia – the wordplay works in both languages). Torres claims that after the quarrel, members of the Mafily went to his house and assaulted him and his family.
Members of the Urban Guard arrived at the scene to break up the fight and identify the aggressors. When they left, L-Gante allegedly threatened Torres with a firearm, forced him into a car, and told him he should not speak against the “Mafily.”
After some “Mafily” members were later arrested, L-Gante returned to the city officials’ car and said to the agents: “Release my friends or I’ll kill this one”, referencing the person he had in his car.
According to the claim, Torres was captive for 23 minutes, and was only released after L-Gante received a phone call informing him that his friends had been freed.
A month ago, a prosecutor refused L-Gante’s defense’s request for the singer to be released pending trial. His lawyers had submitted a video purportedly showing the accuser getting into the artist’s car voluntarily. Prosecutor Raúl Villalba said the footage’s location, origin and timestamp could not be verified, and asked for the artist to remain in custody.
Who is L-Gante?
L-Gante is one of the most popular artists of the “cumbia 420” genre, a mixture of cumbia, trap, and reggaeton whose songs often focus on cannabis culture. Born in General Rodríguez, he rose to fame in 2020 with “L-Gante Rkt” in collaboration with Papu DJ. A year later his popularity grew further after his collaboration with Bizarrap.
A ubiquitous figure of the national urban music scene, in February last year more than 45,000 people went to see him at a free show at Tecnópolis. Months later, in November, he performed at Primavera Sound festival, together with the popular cumbia band Damas Gratis.
—with information from Télam.