Caro Quintero walked free in 2013 after 28 years in jail when a court docket overturned his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnapping and killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The brutal homicide marked a low level in U.S.-Mexico relations.
Caro Quintero, the previous chief of the Guadalajara cartel, had since returned to drug trafficking and unleashed bloody turf battles within the northern Mexico border state of Sonora.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has maintained that he’s not enthusiastic about detaining drug lords and prefers to keep away from violence.
An appeals court docket overturned Caro Quintero’s verdict, however the Supreme Court docket upheld the sentence. It was too late by then; Caro Quintero was spirited off in a ready car.
He was on the FBI’s most needed checklist, with a $20 million reward for his seize by way of the State Division’s Narcotics Rewards Program. He was added to the FBI’s high 10 most needed checklist in 2018.
Caro Quintero was one of many major suppliers of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana to the USA within the late Seventies. He blamed Camarena for a raid on a marijuana plantation in 1984. In 1985, Camarena was kidnapped in Guadalajara, allegedly on orders from Caro Quintero. His tortured physique was discovered a month later.
The DEA didn’t instantly remark.
Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former chief of worldwide operations, stated Caro Quintero was believed to have been working independently most not too long ago, although there had been rumors he was again with the Sinaloa cartel.
Caro Quintero was from Badiraguato, Sinaloa, the identical space as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the previous Sinaloa cartel chief now serving a life sentence in the USA. He ultimately turned one of many “godfathers” of Mexican drug trafficking.
Caro Quintero’s arrest was a shock, contemplating López Obrador’s acknowledged disinterest in going after drug cartel leaders, Vigil stated, however he added that the DEA would by no means cease in search of somebody who killed an agent.
“We didn’t see a number of effort (to seize Caro Quintero) within the final a number of years, particularly when (López Obrador) got here in and instantly began to dismantle a number of the infrastructure and the bilateral relationships between the U.S. and Mexico relative to drug trafficking,” Vigil stated.
After seeing Caro Quintero stroll out of a Mexican jail as soon as already, Vigil stated he hopes the federal government received’t danger a repeat — Guzman twice escaped from Mexican most safety prisons — and would comply with a probable U.S. extradition request.
In Sonora, one of many state’s hit hardest by Caro Quintero’s efforts to reclaim his territory, there was a hope his arrest might assist.
“I consider in Sonora, basically, there might be calm, and sure, reduction for us, as a result of I consider the disappearances will diminish,” stated Cecilia Duarte, an activist with a group of volunteer searchers in Sonora who search for the clandestine graves of the disappeared. Some activists have been threatened and even killed in Sonora amid Caro Quintero’s turf wars with the sons of “El Chapo.”
However, Duarte stated, Caro Quintero “is simply half (of the battle), the battle doesn’t finish.”
Related Press writers AP writers Mark Stevenson, María Verza and Christopher Sherman in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.