Mexico receives U.S. extradition request for notorious drug lord linked to 1985 DEA agent’s murder
The US Department of Justice has requested the extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero, who is accused of the 1985 murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed on Tuesday.
The petition comes a month after the arrest of the 69-year-old drug lord by security forces in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.
Caro Quintero was taken into custody in the Choic Municipality of Sinaloa on July 15, nearly a decade after he was released from prison and returned to the drug trade, though not on the same level as he shared control of the defunct Guadalajara cartel. .
Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero (center) was arrested on July 15 by security forces in Sinaloa. On Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that the government has received a request from the United States Department of Justice to release the 69-year-old drug lord accused of murdering DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985.
The investigation led by Kiki Camarena toppled the Guadalajara cartel, but not before he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the criminal organization in 1985
Considered a pioneer of drug traffickers in Latin America, Caro Quintero has managed to delay his handover to US authorities after filing three lawsuits in court, including one challenging the pending extradition.
‘Mr. Caro Quintero has filed (subpoenas of) amparos, so his case is with the prosecution and with the judiciary, for what corresponds to us, we are going to determine our position with the advice of the Minister of the Interior (Adán Augusto López) and the Minister of External Relations (Marcelo Ebrard),” López Obrador said during his daily press conference at the National Palace on Tuesday morning.
The left-wing president also took a shot at the federal agency that fights drug trafficking and distribution, denouncing “treasonous interference by US government agencies” after the DEA expressed its lack of confidence in the Department of National Defense.
“Now our sovereignty is respected and we have great faith in Mexico’s armed forces, the military and the navy, and we do not accept those comments because they are a lack of respect for our country and our sovereignty,” López Obrador said.
DailyMail.com contacted the DEA for comment.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for “treasonous interference by US government agencies” after the DEA expressed its lack of confidence in the Department of National Defense
US soldiers carry the coffin containing the body of DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena after his 1985 murder
López Obrador also dismissed reports that the Mexican military had prevented the capture of Caro Quintero 14 times, dating back to 2013.
Caro Quintero was released from prison after 28 years in prison in August 2013, when a court overturned his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnapping and murder of Officer Camarena, marking a low point in US-Mexico relations.
The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence five days after his release.
Later in 2013, Caro Quintero wrote a letter to then-President Enrique Peña Nieto asking the government to stop searching for him because he had already served his time in prison for Camarena’s murder.
He was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, with a $20 million reward for his arrest through the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards program.
He was added to the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list in 2018.
The United States had offered a $20 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rafael Caro Quintero
The former leader of the Guadalajara cartel returned to the drug trade, unleashing bloody battles in the northern border state of Sonora, in northern Mexico.
Caro Quintero was one of the major suppliers of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana to the United States in the late 1970s.
Known as the “Narco of Narcos,” he was one of the co-founders of the Guadalajara Cartel, which is featured in the Netflix series “Narcos.”
The defunct criminal organization was targeted by the DEA in the 1980s.
The cartel sought revenge on Camarena after the Mexican military raided a 2,500-acre marijuana plantation in 1984. Caro Quintero accused Camarena of a raid and his accomplices kidnapped him in Guadalajara on February 7, 1985.
Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala, who was employed by the Mexican government and DEA, was kidnapped the same day in a separate incident.
The tortured bodies of Camarena and Zavala were found on March 5, 1985, wrapped in plastic and dumped on an abandoned site in La Angostura, a city in the state of Michoacán.
Caro Quintero was to flee to Costa Rica with his girlfriend and was arrested on April 4, 1985 along with six other people.
After his unexpected release from prison, Caro Quintero built his presence in the drug trade.
In late 2020, he had a falling out with the four sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, known as “Los Chapitos,” despite his ties to the imprisoned drug lord’s Sinaloa cartel, and created his own network, known as the Caborca cartel.