Mexico is enriched by a “hero on four paws” (“El Universal”): It was the search and rescue dog Max who tracked down one of the once most powerful criminals in the North American country in the bushes, so that he could be arrested and imprisoned again.
Rafael Caro Quintero – the Mexican drug lord most wanted by the United States – spent the first night after the arrest in the maximum security prison of Almoloya, 85 kilometers west of Mexico City, as the Mexican newspaper “El Universal” reported on Saturday (local time). According to the Attorney General’s Office, he should be housed there.
The Navy confirmed Caro Quintero’s arrest on Friday. In Mexico in the 1980s, like Pablo Escobar in Colombia, he was known as the “narco de narcos”, the “drug lord of drug lords”. A video showed him being taken away in jeans and a shirt by members of the Navy.
According to US Ambassador Ken Salazar, the arrest was made solely by the Mexican government. DEA Chief Anne Milham had raved about the “incredible DEA team in Mexico” working with Mexican authorities.
Caro Quintero had ordered the 1985 murder of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a DEA officer. The co-founder of the former Guadalajara cartel, Mexico’s first major drug cartel, has been on the run since 2013.
At that time he was released after 28 of 40 years in prison for alleged procedural errors. Mexico’s Supreme Court reversed that decision, but by then Caro Quintero had already gone into hiding. The US State Department put up a $20 million bounty on his head.
“The arrest is very, very important to the US because Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the murder of our agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena,” Mike Vigil, ex-DEA chief of international operations, told Sin Embargo. .
US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland thanked the Mexican authorities for arresting the 69-year-old. “There is no hiding place for someone who kidnaps, tortures and kills US officials,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
They want to apply for his immediate extradition to the United States so that he can be tried there. Mexican officials, cited by La Jornada newspaper, indicated the trial could take at least a year.
The drug lord was arrested in the mountain town of San Simón in northwestern Sinaloa state. Most recently, he is said to have led the smaller Caborca cartel.
When a Navy helicopter crashed after it was arrested, also in Sinaloa, 14 passengers were killed. One officer was also seriously injured. They all supported the arrest effort, wrote Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on social networks. The crash took place on landing in the town of Los Mochis, and the causes are being investigated.
A few days ago, López Obrador was officially received in Washington by his US colleague Joe Biden. The arrest of what was once Mexico’s most powerful drug lord could be interpreted as a goodwill gesture towards Washington following tensions over issues such as security and migration.