Nuevo Culture

Why Was Chalino Sánchez Killed?

Chalino Sánchez is one of the most tragic figures in the history of música Mexicana. With the story of the late Mexican icon set to hit the big screen soon, there’s a reinvigorated interest in the circumstances surrounding his mysterious death.

The long-awaited biopic has been three years in development, and production is soon underway. Jesus Celaya wrote the script and will also serve as the director. Mexican-American actor David Castañeda is reportedly closing in on the role of Sánchez.

Before becoming “El Rey del Corrido,” he was born Rosalino Sánchez Félix on a ranch in Culiacán, Sinaloa in 1960. Seventeen years later, Sánchez allegedly spotted the man who assaulted his sister at a party and allegedly shot and killed him. After that incident, he left behind Sinaloa and moved to Tijuana to work as a coyote. He soon smuggled himself into the country and relocated to Inglewood, California. While trying to make a living on the West Coast, Sánchez reportedly sold small amounts of marijuana and cocaine. 

Seeing the realities of drug-related crime on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and the murder of his brother Armando inspired Sánchez to write narcocorridos, which highlighted the life of drug traffickers. Much like hip-hop, which also talked about drug culture, blowing up in the nineties, so did Sánchez and his narcocorridos. He was soon performing in clubs across L.A. In January 1992, Sánchez survived a shooting at one of his concerts in Coachella, CA.

On May 15, 1992, Sánchez returned to Culiacán. He performed his biggest hits at the Salón Bugambilias, including “Alma Enamorada.” During that song, in particular, Sánchez was recorded receiving a note that appeared to threaten his life. He looked stunned in the chilling video and then crumpled up the note. That would be his last performance.

The next morning, Sánchez’s body was found in a ditch near Los Laureles in Culiacán. He was blindfolded and with his wrists and ankles tied together. Sánchez was shot twice in the back of his head. Though his murder remains unsolved, there are claims of it being linked to the Mexican cartel, a personal vendetta, or revenge for the person he allegedly killed that led to him fleeing in the first place. 

His son Adán “Chalino” Sánchez followed in his dad’s footsteps to become a rising corridos star. The younger Sánchez died on March 27, 2004, in an accident after his dad’s car blew a tire.