Mexico: the capture of the most wanted drug trafficker by the United States ends in tragedy

The co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero, was arrested this Friday in Mexico. The day of glory represented by the arrest of the drug trafficker coincides, however, without any causal link, with the death of 14 Mexican soldiers in the performance of their duties.

The drug trafficker from Sinaloa, the birthplace of many capos, is one of the three founders in the 1970s of the Guadalajara cartel, the parent company of future organized crime companies that still transport drugs to the US market in 2022.

A 37-year Mexican-American feud

The case was closely followed across the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo: the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had offered 20 million dollars for his capture, a record, like the FBI, which had placed Caro Quintero in its custody. hands. list of the 10 most wanted fugitives.

The dispute with the United States dates back 37 years: Caro Quintero is accused of having participated in the 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder of a DEA agent, Enrique Camarena.

Of Mexican origin, “Kiki” Camarena had infiltrated the Guadalajara cartel, which made him bear responsibility for the destruction of 2,500 hectares of marijuana in 1984.

As soon as his arrest was officially confirmed, the Biden administration requested the “immediate extradition” of Caro Quintero, so that he can face US justice for his “alleged crimes.”

“Today’s arrest is the culmination of the tireless work of the DEA and its Mexican partners,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. Mexican newspapers regularly mention the continued presence of US agents on Mexican soil.

For now, Caro Quintero will be transferred to the Altiplano prison, the safest in Mexico, located near the capital Mexico City, and then will be heard by a judge, the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office reported.

Death of 14 soldiers

On the afternoon of this same Friday, the Navy announced the death of 14 soldiers in the accident of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter “whose cause is unknown”, also in the state of Sinaloa. The Navy initially ruled out any link with the arrest of Caro Quintero, the same day in the same region.

However, a few hours later, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, indicated that the 14 soldiers died “after fulfilling their mission of supporting those who executed the arrest warrant issued against Rafael Caro Quintero.”

The president announced the opening of an investigation to determine “the causes of the fall of the helicopter” that was about to land “, in a message of condolence on Twitter.

First arrested in 1985 in Costa Rica, Caro Quintero was tried and sentenced in Mexico to 40 years in prison. A judge had released him in 2013 for a question of legal form. The Mexican justice had once again requested her capture, under pressure from the United States, which relentlessly demanded her arrest and extradition for the “Kiki” Camarena case, as well as for drug trafficking.

“There is nowhere to hide for those who kidnap, torture or murder American law enforcement officers,” Merrick Garland insisted in his press release.

“I didn’t kidnap him, I didn’t torture him, I didn’t kill him,” Caro Quintero defended in a clandestine interview with the weekly Proceso in July 2016. I was at the crime scene, it’s my only participation. “.

pop culture character

In popular culture, Caro Quintero is one of the main characters in the series “Narcos México” that narrates in detail the formation of the Guadalajara Cartel, the DEA’s secret war in Mexico, the torture and murder of officer Camarena.

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