Mexican drug lord and alleged murderer Rafael Caro Quintero. Photo: Google


One of Mexico’s most infamous drug lords, Rafael Caro Quintero, believed to be responsible for the 1985 torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, was captured by the Mexican Navy (Semar) on Friday, July 15.

The arrest took place in San Simón in the Sierra del Triángulo Dorado area of the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa, one of the country’s most violent regions, and shortly after Caro Quintero’s capture, a Mexican Navy Black Hawk helicopter carrying the officers who had carried out the operation crashed mysteriously in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, killing 14 of them and injuring another.

This was the sixth helicopter crash in Mexico since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office in December 2018.

Founder of the non-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, in 2013, Caro Quintero was released from prison in Mexico after 28 years, after he had been sentenced to 40 years for the murder of Camarena and several others. At that time, a Mexican court dismissed the case against him.

His release angered U.S. officials and stirred already-tense relations between the two countries.

One the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) most-wanted criminals, with a $20 million reward for his capture, Caro Quintero was one of the main suppliers of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to the United States in the 1970s, and he purportedly returned to the drug smuggling business shortly after his release in 2013.

On Saturday, July 16, the United States asked for Caro Quintero’s extradition, but so far Mexico’s Federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has stated that he will remain in the maximum security prison of the Altiplano, in the State of Mexico, where he is awaiting a court hearing.


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