Rafael Caro Quintero, a historic Mexican drug trafficker, was arrested on Friday, July 15, by navy agents in the state of Chihuahua (north). A source at the Navy Ministry confirmed the arrest to Agence France-Presse (AFP), refusing to give any details.
The 69-year-old was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for the kidnapping, torture and murder of US Drug Enforcement Officer (DEA) Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, in Mexico in 1985, according to the FBI. Washington had offered 20 million dollars (19.8 million euros) for his capture.
Friday evening, the American Department of Justice welcomed the arrest of the drug trafficker, asking that he be extradited to the United States. “There is nowhere to hide for those who abduct, torture or murder US law enforcement officials,” Minister Merrick Garland said in a statement.
Central character of the series “Narcos: Mexico”
The Mexican was one of the founding members of the first major drug cartel, that of Guadalajara, in the late 1970s. “He maintains an influential position in the Sinaloa Cartel [also known as the Caro- Quintero],” again according to the FBI. Arrested for the first time in 1985, he was tried and sentenced in Mexico to forty years in prison. But a judge released him in 2013 for a procedural defect. Shortly after, Mexican justice again called for his capture.
The United States had also requested his arrest and extradition for the kidnapping and murder of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena and for drug trafficking. “I did not kidnap him, I did not torture him, I did not kill him,” he defended himself in an interview – given while he was in hiding – to the weekly Proceso in July 2016. “I was at the scene of the crime, it is my only participation. »
Rafael Caro Quintero is one of the main characters in the Narcos: Mexico series, which details the formation of the Guadalajara Cartel, the DEA’s secret war in Mexico, the arrest, torture and assassination of the Officer Camarena. The leader of the Guadalajara cartel, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, has been in prison since 1989 for this assassination, but also denies his involvement.