Cartel boss who murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena captured in Mexico

Murder of Kiki Camarena was featured in the Netflix drama ‘Narcos: Mexico’

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 17 July 2022 01:35 BST
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The Mexican drug lord, whose role in ordering the kidnapping and murder of a US drugs enforcement agent in 1985 was featured in Netflix drama Narcos: Mexico, has been captured.

Rafael Caro Quintero, a notorious co-founder of the brutal Guadalajara Cartel, was behind the torture and murder of 37-year-old DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

He spent 28 years in prison for the killing, which was carried out after Camarena and Mexican authorities raided a ranch in 1984 and burned 10,000 tons of marijuana worth $160million, However the cartel boss was released by a judge in 2013 on a legal technicality.

The sentence was later upheld by the country’s Supreme Court but by then Caro Quintero had been freed and whisked away by his associates.

The Mexican navy said that the drug trafficker was found on Friday hiding in shrubland in the northwestern state of Sinaloa by a military-trained female bloodhound named Max.

In the Netflix show Caro Quintero was played by Tenoch Huerta Mejia, while the role of Kiki Camarena was taken on by Michael Peña.

Camarena and his pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar, were grabbed by the cartel in February 1985 in Guadalajara. Their bodies were found wrapped in plastic outside a rural ranch a month later.

Drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero (via REUTERS)

The attorney general’s office said in a Friday statement that Caro Quintero was being held for extradition at the maximum security Altiplano prison, 50 miles west of Mexico City.

US officials say that Caro Quintero also ordered the torture and murder of two US civilians, John Clay Walker, 36, and dentistry student Albert Radelat, 33, in January 1985.

The pair were out for dinner when they accidentally came across a party being held by Caro Quintero, who mistook them for DEA agents.

He ordered his men to take them into a store room at the restaurant where they were reportedly tortured with ice picks.

Mexico Drug Lord Capture

Walker died during the attack, while Radelat may still have been alive when the pair were wrapped in tablecloths and buried. Their bodies were found six months later.

The family of John Walker told The Independent that they want their father’s “vicious” killing included in any Justice Department prosecution of Caro Quintero.

“We were just 8-years and 10-years old when our father was ripped from our lives. For 37-years we’ve had to endure the painful failure of the justice system on both sides of the border to capture and punish Quintero for the murder of John Clay Walker. Quintero was never tried in Mexico, or the U.S., for our father’s death. It is now time for that wrong to be righted. It is our family’s hope that The U.S. Justice Department will do what is right and expand their call-to-action,” said Keely and Lannie Walker.

“Our father’s name is only rarely mentioned in so many of the headlines, press statements and television series about Quintero and the US-Mexico drug war. But what we want more than anything is to see our father’s name on an indictment: The United States V Caro Quintero for the prosecution for the felony murder of US Citizen John C Walker.”

The arrest comes just days after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

“This is huge,” White House senior Latin America adviser Juan Gonzalez wrote on Twitter, following news of the drug lord’s arrest.

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