Mexico's pop stars are being killed by drug cartel bosses

Washington Post reports that "a dozen pop musicians have been killed in the past year in Mexico" by drug lords. The latest victim: Sergio Gómez, a superstar with an international following.

He was kidnapped after a show, then tortured, beaten and killed.

Nearly every one of the slayings bore the hallmarks of the drug cartel hitmen blamed for 4,000 deaths in the country in the past two years.

But the savage murder of Sergio Gómez -- one of Mexico's hottest singers, a headliner whose band, K-Paz de la Sierra, commanded $100,000 a show, twice the rate of other top bands -- was different. It has set off an unprecedented chain reaction in which at least half a dozen bands have canceled concert tours. Popular bands, such as the Duranguense act Patrulla 81, which backed out of four major shows, are terrified of coming to Morelia and the surrounding state of Michoacan.

It is common knowledge in Mexico's music industry, but not known to the general public, that drug cartels finance the careers of some budding musicians, then launder money through unregulated concert ticket sales, according to industry sources, musicians and law enforcement.