Colombian Singer by Day, Paid Assassin by Night

Colombian Singer by Day, Paid Assassin by Night

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With a successful career as a singer, and several YouTube hits, few knew Carlos Valencia led a second life as a paid killer.

“You were lucky you caught me without my gun on me,” said Valencia to the group of officers who arrested him late last month on Bogotá’s south side. “If I have had it, I would have killed at least two or three, and you wouldn’t have taken me alive.”

Valencia, a short, thin, harmless looking man, was wearing the same leather jacket he wore to several of his music videos at the time of his arrest.

Puzzled passersby wondered why it took 15 men from the Group of Special Operatives (GOES), eight members of the SIJIN (local branch of the Judicial and Investigative Police), two intelligence officers and 25 men from the Operative Commando of Control and Reaction (COCOR) to capture such a scrawny young man. Their surprise grew when they realized the scrawny man was singer Carlos Valencia.

At 25 years old, Valencia has appeared in several well-known television shows as a young singer with musical promise and has even performed for the campaigns of several aspiring politicians. Several of his videos had a strong YouTube following, and he was perceived as a wonderful voice with a bright future ahead.

Six months ago, following a series of operations against criminals in Bogotá, police learned of the existence of someone with the alias “The Soloist.”

Every other criminal the police caught seemed to want to take some blame off their shoulders and put it on “The Soloist.” Polcie were skeptical, as it seemed truly impossible that the baby-faced, angel-voiced artist could harm a fly, but they decided to follow Valencia to clear their doubts. Soon, they realized they had opened Pandora’s box.

“That man died for being a fa**ot, he refused to deliver the money the easy way, and ended up flat on the ground by the sidewalk. Oh well, now for the important part. What’s for dinner at home? Did you save me some meat?” said Valencia in a recorded phone conversation with his partner.

“He worked for everyone. His 'services' were solicited by merchants, guerrilla members, former paramilitary, drug lords and even petty criminals,” a police officer told the Colombian magazine Semana. “His range of services was very wide, and practically goes through the entire Penal Code. He trafficked weapons—mainly grenades—[and ] threatened, extorted and used his guerrilla experience to cook explosives,” the officer said.

Valencia allegedly charged his clients anywhere from $100 to $25,000. Sometimes, he even worked for free, as favors to friends, police said.

Police estimate that including victims of revenge, blackmail, and "social cleansing," Valencia killed no less than 40 people.

The former singer has accepted charges for aggravated conspiracy and extortion, and is due in court within a few days to answer for the murders police has evidence against him. He is looking at up to 40 years in jail.

Meanwhile, the music videos of Valencia appear to have been pulled from all Latin American sources including YouTube.