Caro Quintero arrested in Mexico; wished by U.S. in 1985 homicide of DEA agent Kiki Camarena

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MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Marines on Friday captured fugitive drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, a high U.S. regulation enforcement goal who was convicted of the 1985 homicide of a DEA agent, an occasion that remodeled the US authorities battle on drug traffickers, based on Mexican authorities. .

Caro Quintero, 69, is taken into account one of many architects of the kidnapping, torture and homicide of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico. The co-founder of the Guadalajara Cartel had served 28 years of a 40-year jail sentence for that homicide and different crimes when he was immediately launched earlier than daybreak on August 9, 2013, on orders from a decide citing administrative causes.

Since then, the recapture of Caro Quintero has been an obsession for the DEA and a high precedence for successive US administrations. In 2020, then-Legal professional Common William P. Barr urged the Mexican authorities to trace down the drug kingpin in a reciprocal gesture when the Trump administration dropped narcotics prices towards former Protection Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda and despatched him again to Mexico. Mexico, based on varied officers. However Caro Quintero repeatedly ran away when the brokers closed in.

“There are a whole bunch of [DEA] brokers who went to Mexico to defend the nationwide safety of this nation, but in addition to convey RCQ to justice,” mentioned Terry Cole, a retired DEA agent who served in Mexico.

After Caro Quintero was launched in 2013, Mexico issued a brand new arrest warrant for him.

US authorities had supplied a $20 million reward for data resulting in Caro Quintero’s arrest, and he was on FBI and DEA lists of most wished fugitives. His arrest on Friday got here days after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with President Biden on the White Home. Mexico has lately stepped up its anti-drug efforts, significantly towards producers of the lethal opioid fentanyl.

US Legal professional Common Merrick Garland expressed his because of the Mexican authorities on Friday, saying the arrest was “the end result of the tireless work of the DEA and its Mexican companions.” He added that US authorities will search the speedy extradition of Caro Quintero. He faces cocaine trafficking prices in New York, the place he would doubtless face trial, authorities mentioned.

“There isn’t any hiding place for anybody who kidnaps, tortures and murders American regulation enforcement,” Garland mentioned.

Mexican Navy particular forces, with the assistance of US intelligence, captured the drug trafficker within the municipality of Choix, in Sinaloa state, based on Mexican officers and two former US officers acquainted with the small print. One, talking on situation of anonymity to debate operations data, mentioned that Caro Quintero was touring with a small group of bodyguards and was in a wooded space. He was sniffed out by a canine named Max who labored with the Navy, based on an announcement from the Mexican Navy.

Hours after the seize, a Mexican army helicopter crashed close to Los Mochis, Sinaloa, in an obvious accident, killing 14 Marines, based on Mexican and US officers. The newspaper Reforma, citing unidentified naval sources, reported that the marines helped within the seek for Caro Quintero.

The battle subsequent door: Battle in Mexico is displacing 1000’s

Camarena, a US Marine and police officer earlier than becoming a member of the DEA, was kidnapped on February 7, 1985 in Guadalajara, a serious drug trafficking hub, stunning the US authorities. US and sparked a large manhunt. US customs brokers minimize off visitors on the border with Mexico to push for motion within the case. The DEA angrily alleged that corrupt Mexican cops helped Caro Quintero secretly fly in another country.

A month after the kidnapping, the our bodies of the US drug agent and his pilot had been present in shallow graves within the state of Michoacán. The murders had been attributed to Caro Quintero, a serious marijuana producer, and two different drug lords: Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseca. Subsequently, Caro Quintero was captured in Costa Rica and extradited to Mexico. All three males had been convicted of the murders.

Camarena’s homicide had far-reaching penalties: It led to the dissolution of the corruption-ridden Mexican federal police and an expanded position for the DEA. “Her sacrifice of his bolstered the division’s price range, staffing and political standing,” wrote Benjamin T. Smith in “The Dope,” a historical past of Mexican drug trafficking. “Within the late Nineteen Eighties, he spearheaded America’s rising give attention to combating medicine internationally.”

Camarena’s homicide and the murder investigation had been chronicled within the Netflix collection “Narcos Mexico.”

Anti-drug cooperation between the USA and Mexico deteriorated after López Obrador, a longtime leftist, took workplace in 2018 and promised to finish the “battle on medicine” and steer youth away from trafficking with packages. social. He was a staunch critic of the kingpin technique employed by his predecessors to search out drug cartel leaders.

Relations deteriorated additional in 2020, when US officers on the request of the DEA arrested Cienfuegos on the Los Angeles airport and charged the previous protection minister with drug trafficking. Mexico retaliated by limiting the flexibility of DEA brokers to work within the nation.

An American homicide suspect has fled to Mexico. The Gringo Hunters had been ready.

Recently, nonetheless, there was a pointy enhance in lab seizures of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Mexico. This week, at a gathering in Washington, Biden and López Obrador agreed to ascertain a activity drive on fentanyl. Artificial medicine have change into a rising disaster in the USA, the place greater than 100,000 individuals overdosed final 12 months, largely because of the rising use of fentanyl.

It was unclear if the timing of Caro Quintero’s arrest was associated to the White Home assembly.

Caro Quintero was as soon as dubbed the “Godfather” of the Mexican drug commerce. The Sinaloa native co-founded the Guadalajara cartel, a community that dominated drug shipments to the USA within the Nineteen Eighties and was one of many first to associate with main Colombian cocaine traffickers.

Since his launch in 2013, Caro Quintero has stored a low profile, however it’s believed that be concerned in fentanyl trafficking. It’s believed that he was working within the space of ​​Caborca, Sinaloa.

Gabriela Martínez and Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul contributed to this report.

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