They catch a drug lord who killed a US drug agent


Historic Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the United States’ most wanted men for the 1985 murder of a federal agent, was arrested Friday in northwestern Mexico, nearly a decade after being released from jail due to an apparent miscarriage of justice and return to a life of crime.

As reported by the Secretary of the Navy in a statement, Caro Quintero was located in the bushes by a Navy dog ​​named “Max” during a joint operation with the Attorney General’s Office in San Simón, a municipality in the Sierra de Sinaloa near the state of Chihuahua. According to the National Registry of Detentions, the capture took place around noon.

The capo had two arrest warrants in Mexico, but a third was executed for extradition purposes to the United States, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement at night. While he resolves his legal situation, he will remain interned in a high-security prison in central Mexico.

Mexican authorities released Caro Quintero in 2013 after spending 28 years in prison for the murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. An appeals court issued a release order and, although the resolution was later reversed, it was already too late: the capo evaporated aboard a vehicle as soon as he set foot out of jail.

Hours after the capture, a Navy Black Hawk helicopter crashed, leaving 14 sailors dead. According to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, they had participated in an action to support those who executed the capture and that an investigation would be carried out to determine the causes of the incident. Only one Marine survived. On Saturday he was in serious but stable condition, the Navy reported.

The Navy said that, according to available information, it was an accident due to unknown causes. The president guaranteed that an investigation will be opened in this regard.

big hit

The capture of Caro Quintero represents the greatest blow to drug trafficking by the López Obrador government, which since assuming power in December 2018 has opted for a security strategy of “hugs, not bullets”, that is, based on not fighting frontally against cartels, but to address the causes that make people choose to engage in this activity. This policy has been harshly criticized because the violence in the country has not ceased.

The arrest of Caro Quintero, considered one of the great “godfathers” of drug trafficking in Mexico, occurred just a few days after López Obrador met with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

At night, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, thanked Mexico for the capture and expressed his condolences for the sailors who lost their lives when the helicopter fell.

“There is no hiding place for those who kidnap, torture and murder a US agent,” he declared in a statement, adding that the United States will seek “his immediate extradition” after an arrest that he defined as “the culmination of the tireless work of the DEA and its Mexican partners to bring Caro Quintero to justice.”

The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, said Saturday that this collaboration did not involve the participation of US personnel in the tactical action, conducted solely by Mexico.

Caro Quintero disappeared from the public scene after leaving prison without having served 40 years of his sentence, and the United States Department of Justice then declared itself “extremely disappointed” by a release that it described as “extremely alarming”. According to Washington, both Caro Quintero and his family were still involved in drug trafficking.

The Mexican Supreme Court reversed the release ruling in 2014, and a year later Mexican judges issued a recapture order. In 2018, US authorities offered a $20 million reward for his arrest, a record amount at the time, and the FBI included his name on its 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.

The 69-year-old from Sinaloa, born in Badiraguato -the same municipality as Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán-, was one of the founders of the Guadalajara cartel at the end of the 1970s and later the historical leader of the Sinaloa cartel together with ” El Chapo”, who is currently serving a life sentence in the United States, and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who is a fugitive.

At that time Caro Quintero was considered one of the largest traffickers of marijuana to the United States and later also of cocaine and heroin. He accused Camarena of a large operation that destroyed one of his marijuana plantations.

Shortly after, the agent was kidnapped in Guadalajara, apparently by order of the capo. His tortured body was located a month later. It was 1985. Caro Quintero was arrested that same year.

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