Mexican Authorities Arrest Drug Lord Behind Murder of DEA Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena

By Allan Lengel

Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who was behind the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985, was captured Friday by Mexican authorities. Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed to immediately seek extradition to the U.S.

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

Mexican forces, in conjunction with the DEA, captured Caro Quintero after a search dog named “Max” found him hiding in brush in the town of San Simon in Sinaloa state during a joint operation by the navy and Attorney General’s Office, a navy statement said, according to the Associated Press.

During the operation, a Mexican navy Blackhawk helicopter crashed near the coastal city of Los Mochis, killing 14 people, AP reported.

Caro Quintero served 28 years of a 40 year sentence for the murder of Camarena. But the Mexican court released him early, saying he should have been prosecuted in state court rather than federal. After his release, he returned to trafficking drugs.

“Today, our incredible DEA team in Mexico worked in partnership with Mexican authorities to capture and arrest Rafael Caro Quintero, who is charged in the United States with the torture and murder of DEA Special Agent Kiki Camarena and with many other crimes,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in a statement. “For more than 30 years, the men and women of DEA have worked tirelessly to bring Caro Quintero to justice. Today’s arrest is the result of years of your blood, sweat, and tears.  Without your work, Caro Quintero would not face justice.”

“I am grateful also to the men and women of the Mexican Navy, Semar. We mourn the tragic deaths of the 14 Mexican marines who lost their lives today in service to their country.”

She went on to say that Camarena “embodied the very best of DEA: he was a tenacious agent who relentlessly pursued the most dangerous drug cartels operating in Mexico.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a statement:

“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement. We are deeply grateful to Mexican authorities for their capture and arrest of Rafael Caro-Quintero. Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by DEA and their Mexican partners.”


Leave a Reply