The Navy added that the capo was detained for extradition purposes.
The historic Mexican drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, among the ten most wanted by the United States, accused of the death of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985, was captured in Mexico, the Navy reported Friday.
Caro Quintero, 69, one of the leaders of the extinct Guadalajara cartel, was detained by marines in the town of Choix in the state of Sinaloa, in the northwest of the country, the agency said in a statement. The Navy added that the capo was detained for extradition purposes. After his capture, Caro Quintero was transferred to the Altiplano Prison, in the central state of Mexico, to later have his hearing before the judge. The reward for the drug trafficker amounts to 20 million dollars. It is the highest that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) offers for a Mexican criminal, surpassing active capos such as Nemesio Oseguera, “El Mencho”, leader of the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel (10 million).
This Saturday, the DEA said in a message posted on its website that its team deployed in Mexico collaborated with the Navy to arrest Caro Quintero.
“Our incredible team in Mexico worked in conjunction with Mexican authorities to capture and arrest Rafael Caro Quintero,” DEA Chief Anne Milgram said in a statement. “The arrest is the result of blood, sweat and tears.”
The capo had been captured in 1985 for ordering the murder of Camarena and sentenced to 40 years in prison, which he was serving in a Mexican prison, but was released in August 2013 on a legal technicality. After his release, the United States government demanded his capture for extradition purposes, on charges of kidnapping and murder of a federal agent, violent crimes, possession and distribution of cocaine and marijuana, among others. On Friday, the US Department of Justice welcomed the arrest and said it would seek “his immediate extradition.”
“Today’s arrest is the culmination of the work of the DEA and its Mexican partners to bring Caro Quintero to justice for his crimes,” the department said in a statement.
On Friday afternoon, 14 people died after a Navy helicopter crashed in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, almost at the same time that the capo’s arrest was reported.
The Navy said in a statement that the aircraft collapsed while carrying out operational activities, although it did not specify which ones. He added that until that moment the accident was not related to the capture. However, at night, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Twitter that the aircraft was transporting personnel who had fulfilled “the mission of supporting those who executed the arrest warrant against Caro Quintero.”
“The secretary of the Navy, José Rafael Ojeda, has informed me that an investigation will be ordered to find out the causes of the helicopter crash,” he said.
In 1984, Mexican authorities seized a 2,500-acre marijuana plantation belonging to Caro Quintero.
The Guadalajara cartel blamed Camarena for the seizure, according to the US Justice Department. A year later, Camarena was tortured and killed after spending four years infiltrating the cartel. In an interview granted to the weekly Proceso in 2016, while he was a fugitive, Caro Quintero denied having ordered the Camarena murder.
“I had never talked about this case, it is the first time (…). I did not kidnap him, I did not torture him and I did not kill him,” he said. At that time, the capo also said that after several years in drug trafficking he just wanted to “live in peace”: “The only thing I’m looking for is peace and I apologize to Mexican society for the mistakes I made.”
Caro Quintero was born in 1952 in Badiraguato, in the state of Sinaloa, the birthplace of other drug lords such as Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is currently serving a life sentence in the United States. During the 1970s, he founded the Guadalajara Cartel together with capos Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca Carillo. Félix Gallardo, 76, has been in prison since 1989, while Ernesto Fonseca, 91, is under house arrest due to his age and health problems.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.