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Tag: Enrique Camarena

Convicted Drug Lord Re-Sentenced in Murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Convicted drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was re-sentenced by a Mexican court to 37 years in prison and a reparation payment equivalent to $1.2 million.

Felix Gallardo, who was considered the godfather of Mexican drug smuggling and the co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel, had previously been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena.

Some of those convicted in the murder had filed appeals.

Rafael Caro Quintero, who was released from prison in 2013 following an appeals court decision to overturn his conviction, is to be re-sentenced. He remains at large, but a warrant has been issued for his arrest. 

Mexican Drug Lord Denies Killing DEA Agent Enrique Camarena in 1985

Former Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

Former Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero denied killing DEA Agent Enrique Camarena in 1985 and said he did not try to seize control of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Caro Quintero, a fugitive from justice since 2013, made the statements to Proceco magazine, reports Fox News. 

Quintero was released from prison on Aug. 9, 2013 after a judge dismissed charges against him, and disappeared soon after.

“I didn’t kidnap him, didn’t torture him and didn’t kill him,” the founder of the Guadalajara drug cartel said, referring to the DEA agent.

Caro Quintero said he was “in the wrong place” when the agent was killed.

Caro Quintero said he wants peace and “forgiveness of Mexican society.”

Parker: Slain DEA Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Would Be Proud of His Son, the Judge

Judge Enrique Camarena, Jr.

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

While six extradited Colombians have been arraigned and await trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges related to the murder of DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson in Bogota last summer, the DEA Survivor Benefit Fund dedicated a memorial this summer to Special Agent Watson in his home town of Rayville, LA.

Farther west, past investment by the SBF Higher Education Fund bore particularly poignant fruit when Enrique Camarena, Jr. was appointed to a judgeship on the San Diego Superior Court in July 15th. Judge Camarena was 11 years old when his father DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was murdered by Mexican drug cartel members in February 1985.

Like Special Agent Terry Watson, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena lived a full life of bravery and service. He was born in Mexicali, Mexico, but his family moved to the United States in Calexico, California. He became a naturalized U. S. citizen and served in the Marines, as a firefighter and police investigator before joining DEA.

His son at an early age made a commitment to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the support of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund he went to law school and became a Deputy District Attorney for San Diego County. He has also been active in the work of the Camarena Foundation and in contributing to the efforts to support other children who have lost a father or mother who were killed in the line of duty.

No doubt Judge Camarena’s father was in his and his family’s memories as he received his robe to the Superior Court bench.

Mexican Drug Lord Who Killed DEA Agent Accused of Stashing Billions of Dollars in Secret Overseas Accounts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who ordered the kidnapping, torture and killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985, has stashed billion of dollars in secret overseas accounts, an ex-DEA agent claims.

“Caro Quintero had billions of dollars stashed in secret bank accounts in Luxembourg and in Switzerland,” former DEA agent Hector Berrellez told Forbes in a telephone interview. “The one in Luxembourg had $4 billion and the other one had even more.”

While investigating Quintero, Barrellez said he saw the electronic statements and does not believe the government confiscated the money.

The DEA declined to comment.

Quintero was released early from prison after serving 28 years in jail.

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Parker: Heartening News from Mexico Supreme Court on Killer of DEA Agent

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
 
The Supreme Court of Mexico this week reversed the ruling of a Mexican intermediate appellate court which had resulted in the surprise release from jail three months ago of one of the murderers of iconic hero DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena.
 
The decision should dampen speculation about the imminent release of other high level traffickers by Mexican courts. It also should help reduce the tension that has developed as a result of the policies of the new President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto to limit access of U. S. law enforcement to intelligence and investigative activities of their Mexican counterparts.

With no advance warning and under highly questionable circumstances, the lower court had overturned the conviction of drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero on the jurisdictional grounds that he had been incorrectly prosecuted in federal rather than state court.

The decision was kept secret for two days from the media and the U. S, government. Quintero was released from Jalisco jail on August 9th before any steps could be taken to review the ruling. His release blindsided the U. S. government, and the Justice Department immediately protested to the Mexican government and filed an extradition request for two federal indictments out of Los Angeles.

“Kiki” Camarena continues to be remembered as a courageous and effective federal agent whose efforts under constant threat were successful in dealing a serious blow to the cartel’s operation in Guadalajara.

His 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder mobilized federal agents as few such atrocities on foreign soil have. U.S. agents crossed the border to hunt down his killers. Customs agents deliberately slowed cross-border traffic to put pressure on Mexican authorities. The killers were hunted down by both Mexican and U.S. law enforcement and were convicted and sentenced in cases on both sides of the border, Quintero still had 12 more years to serve on his forty-year sentence as one of the most culpable of the murderers.

There are indications that Quintero, considered the godfather of the Mexican cartels in the 1970s and 80s, had continued his criminal activity from prison, operating a substantial money laundering operation for one of the cartels. The fact that he was released under such questionable circumstances has raised suspicions that the cartels continue to control parts of the Mexican criminal justice system.

The problem, of course, with this good news is that Quintero is in the wind. It took a maximum joint effort by American and Mexican law enforcement to arrest him 28 years ago from his hiding place in Costa Rica. Although the Mexican Attorney General has promised to apprehend Quintero, the Justice Department is taking no chances. A $5 million dollar reward has been announced and federal agents are undoubtedly actively involved in the manhunt.

When he is re-arrested, his extradition at least on the U. S. drug charges pending in the Central District of California will most likely be aggressively pursued even if he is returned to Mexican jails to serve the remainder of his sentence.

 

Release of Camarena’s Killer Threatens U.S.-Mexican Law Enforcement Relations


Enrique Camarena

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Both the U. S. and Mexican governments face some difficult policy questions in light of the surprise release from jail last week of one of the murderers of iconic hero DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena. With no advance warning and under highly questionable circumstances, an intermediate Mexican court overturned the conviction of drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero on the grounds that he had been convicted in federal rather than state court.

The decision was kept secret for two days from the media and the U. S, government. Quintero was released from Jalisco jail before any steps could be taken to review the ruling. His release blindsided the U. S. government. Quintero’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Mexican legal authorities say that the decision was contrary to Mexican Supreme Court precedent and that the court avoided the logical remedy of simply remanding the case to the appropriate state court. These anomalies and the secrecy that surrounded his release have raised questions on both sides of the border in light of the Mexican legal system’s reputation for corruption when dealing with the cartels.

Although the United States has lodged a protest over the matter, DOJ has not yet announced a decision to pursue extradition of Quintero. Nor is it clear whether extradition was ever formally sought on existing U.S. drug charges. This is somewhat surprising given the fact that Mexican authorities had allowed him to flee in 1985 before he was captured in Costa Rica.

Law enforcement sources indicate that Quintero, considered the godfather of the Mexican cartels in the 1970s and 80s, has continued his criminal activity from prison, operating a substantial money laundering operation for the Similoa cartel. This, of course, could be the basis of future charges and an extradition request.

It would be a mistake for the Obama administration to underestimate the depth of outrage by U. S. law enforcement over this incident. As summarized in a column a couple weeks ago, “Kiki” Camarena continues to be remembered as a courageous and effective federal agent whose efforts under constant threat were successful in dealing a serious blow to the cartel’s operation in Guadalajara.

His kidnapping, torture and murder mobilized federal agents as few such atrocities on foreign soil have. U.S. agents crossed the border to hunt down his killers. Customs agents deliberately slowed cross-border traffic to put pressure on Mexican authorities. The killers were brought to justice on both sides of the border, but the incident affected the relations between respective law enforcement officers for a generation.

Attorney General Eric Holder has sent a letter on the Quintero release to his counterpart in Mexico but the contents have not been made public. A failure of DOJ to take concrete steps to bring Quintero to justice would damage law enforcement morale, as well as the already problematic relationship with Mexican law enforcement.

Moreover, the message to both the cartels and the vulnerable members of the Mexican legal system would be extremely negative. American submission to the caprice and corruption of Mexican justice would only encourage future manipulations. There is good reason to believe that the Quintero case is only the first of many potential releases of high level traffickers. An attorney for a co-defendant in the Camarena murder case has already publicly announced his expectation that his client will also be freed.

Other Mexican legal authorities have speculated that the continuing reform of the Mexican justice system from its former activities of forced confessions and other such practices will provide fertile ground, even years later, for high-priced defense attorneys to seek the reversals of the convictions of high level traffickers. Apparently Mexican post-conviction proceedings lack the strict limits and finality of the United States Code.

U. S. federal prosecutors may react to such developments in Mexico by bringing a host of insurance indictments to serve as bases for future extradition requests to cope with wholesale releases of culpable traffickers.

Beyond case-by-case reaction to this situation, the U. S, administration will face some tough decisions about relations with Mexico on this issue. The U. S. has spent billions of dollars to support Mexican law enforcement in their efforts to cope with violent offenders. Some have suggested that the billion-dollar-a-day economy between the two neighbors under the North American Free Trade Agreement will make American authorities reluctant to do more than express their displeasure with such releases.

Mexico, too, has some awkward policy choices to make. The law enforcement and prosecutorial systems have many brave and dedicated professionals who have had some success in battling the deep pocket resources of the cartels. Releasing some of the cartel leaders not only threatens this success but increases the danger they face every day.

The current President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, was elected last December. He took immediate steps to cut back on the access by U. S. law enforcement agents to investigative and intelligence activity with their Mexican counterparts. His predecessor, Felipe Calderon had forged a strong working relationship with DEA, ICE, and other federal agencies. The U. S. provided extensive resources, manpower, and financing to bolster Mexican efforts to target drug kingpins. That policy has been reversed in the last six months in favor on concentrating on the violence on the streets.

In their meeting in May, Presidents Obama and Nieto discussed American concerns over this development. President Obama, however, concluded the meeting by announcing that he accepted this change as a matter of Mexican domestic policy. The result has been a serious deterioration in the working relationship and trust that had developed between the two countries’ law enforcement forces. The Quintero debacle and the looming threat of other releases are the latest blows to this delicate situation.

Mexican acquiescence to these questionable releases runs the risk of losing whatever control there is over drug enforcement there. Continued massive violence and a collapse of integrity to the legal system are at stake. Then there is the risk of backlash in the United States resulting in eliminating the billions in foreign aid as well as damaging the burgeoning economy between the two countries.

Mexico has justifiably taken steps to re-balance their legal system by providing due process guarantees to criminal defendants. But such efforts must be based on integrity in enforcing the rule of law and the effects that such reforms could have on the fragile law enforcement system and the catastrophic loss of life. Weakening the structure of Mexican society will be a devastating price to pay for such reforms.

The U. S. must continue to assist Mexico to navigate these treacherous waters and work to reverse the retrenchment of joint efforts by the two nations’ law enforcement.

Such efforts will not succeed without a re-doubling of efforts to reduce America’s insatiable demand for illegal drugs.

 

Parker: Release of Camarena’s Killer Threatens U.S.-Mexican Law Enforcement Relations


Enrique Camarena

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Both the U. S. and Mexican governments face some difficult policy questions in light of the surprise release from jail last week of one of the murderers of iconic hero DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena. With no advance warning and under highly questionable circumstances, an intermediate Mexican court overturned the conviction of drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero on the grounds that he had been convicted in federal rather than state court.

The decision was kept secret for two days from the media and the U. S, government. Quintero was released from Jalisco jail before any steps could be taken to review the ruling. His release blindsided the U. S. government. Quintero’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Mexican legal authorities say that the decision was contrary to Mexican Supreme Court precedent and that the court avoided the logical remedy of simply remanding the case to the appropriate state court. These anomalies and the secrecy that surrounded his release have raised questions on both sides of the border in light of the Mexican legal system’s reputation for corruption when dealing with the cartels.

Although the United States has lodged a protest over the matter, DOJ has not yet announced a decision to pursue extradition of Quintero. Nor is it clear whether extradition was ever formally sought on existing U.S. drug charges. This is somewhat surprising given the fact that Mexican authorities had allowed him to flee in 1985 before he was captured in Costa Rica.

Law enforcement sources indicate that Quintero, considered the godfather of the Mexican cartels in the 1970s and 80s, has continued his criminal activity from prison, operating a substantial money laundering operation for the Similoa cartel. This, of course, could be the basis of future charges and an extradition request.

It would be a mistake for the Obama administration to underestimate the depth of outrage by U. S. law enforcement over this incident. As summarized in a column a couple weeks ago, “Kiki” Camarena continues to be remembered as a courageous and effective federal agent whose efforts under constant threat were successful in dealing a serious blow to the cartel’s operation in Guadalajara.

His kidnapping, torture and murder mobilized federal agents as few such atrocities on foreign soil have. U.S. agents crossed the border to hunt down his killers. Customs agents deliberately slowed cross-border traffic to put pressure on Mexican authorities. The killers were brought to justice on both sides of the border, but the incident affected the relations between respective law enforcement officers for a generation.

Attorney General Eric Holder has sent a letter on the Quintero release to his counterpart in Mexico but the contents have not been made public. A failure of DOJ to take concrete steps to bring Quintero to justice would damage law enforcement morale, as well as the already problematic relationship with Mexican law enforcement.

Moreover, the message to both the cartels and the vulnerable members of the Mexican legal system would be extremely negative. American submission to the caprice and corruption of Mexican justice would only encourage future manipulations. There is good reason to believe that the Quintero case is only the first of many potential releases of high level traffickers. An attorney for a co-defendant in the Camarena murder case has already publicly announced his expectation that his client will also be freed.

Other Mexican legal authorities have speculated that the continuing reform of the Mexican justice system from its former activities of forced confessions and other such practices will provide fertile ground, even years later, for high-priced defense attorneys to seek the reversals of the convictions of high level traffickers. Apparently Mexican post-conviction proceedings lack the strict limits and finality of the United States Code.

U. S. federal prosecutors may react to such developments in Mexico by bringing a host of insurance indictments to serve as bases for future extradition requests to cope with wholesale releases of culpable traffickers.

Beyond case-by-case reaction to this situation, the U. S, administration will face some tough decisions about relations with Mexico on this issue. The U. S. has spent billions of dollars to support Mexican law enforcement in their efforts to cope with violent offenders. Some have suggested that the billion-dollar-a-day economy between the two neighbors under the North American Free Trade Agreement will make American authorities reluctant to do more than express their displeasure with such releases.

Ross Parker

Mexico, too, has some awkward policy choices to make. The law enforcement and prosecutorial systems have many brave and dedicated professionals who have had some success in battling the deep pocket resources of the cartels. Releasing some of the cartel leaders not only threatens this success but increases the danger they face every day.

The current President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, was elected last December. He took immediate steps to cut back on the access by U. S. law enforcement agents to investigative and intelligence activity with their Mexican counterparts. His predecessor, Felipe Calderon had forged a strong working relationship with DEA, ICE, and other federal agencies. The U. S. provided extensive resources, manpower, and financing to bolster Mexican efforts to target drug kingpins. That policy has been reversed in the last six months in favor on concentrating on the violence on the streets.

In their meeting in May, Presidents Obama and Nieto discussed American concerns over this development. President Obama, however, concluded the meeting by announcing that he accepted this change as a matter of Mexican domestic policy. The result has been a serious deterioration in the working relationship and trust that had developed between the two countries’ law enforcement forces. The Quintero debacle and the looming threat of other releases are the latest blows to this delicate situation.

Mexican acquiescence to these questionable releases runs the risk of losing whatever control there is over drug enforcement there. Continued massive violence and a collapse of integrity to the legal system are at stake. Then there is the risk of backlash in the United States resulting in eliminating the billions in foreign aid as well as damaging the burgeoning economy between the two countries.

Mexico has justifiably taken steps to re-balance their legal system by providing due process guarantees to criminal defendants. But such efforts must be based on integrity in enforcing the rule of law and the effects that such reforms could have on the fragile law enforcement system and the catastrophic loss of life. Weakening the structure of Mexican society will be a devastating price to pay for such reforms.

The U. S. must continue to assist Mexico to navigate these treacherous waters and work to reverse the retrenchment of joint efforts by the two nations’ law enforcement.

Such efforts will not succeed without a re-doubling of efforts to reduce America’s insatiable demand for illegal drugs.

 

Mexican Officials Challenge Early Release of DEA Agent Killer, Caro Quintero

Enrique Camarena

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican officials said Tuesday they are seeking to reverse an appeals court ruling that led to the early release of a notorious drug kingpin who was in prison for killing a DEA agent, The LA Times reports.

Relations between the U.S. and Mexico became strained after Caro Quintero, the accused founder of the once-potent Guadalajara drug cartel, was released from prison after serving 28 years – 12 short of his sentence.

“The decision, in our opinion, wasn’t respectful of the legal framework,” Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade told reporters Tuesday. “We will have to find the way to reverse it.”

Quintero was convicted of kidnapping, torturing and murdering DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST