Opinion

Release of Mexican drug lord who killed DEA agent sparks US fury

rafael caro quintero
Rafael Caro Quintero
Photo Credit: DEA

The United States is rightfully angered at the news that Mexico has released the drug lord convicted of the brutal torture and murder of an American federal drug agent.

Rafael Caro Quintero, 61, was released Friday after serving 28 years of a 40-year sentence for the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Mexico in 1985.

A Mexican federal court ruled that Caro Quintero was improperly tried in federal court when his case should have been heard in a state court, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Enrique camarena
Enrique “Kiki” Camarena
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

“The DEA said in a statement that it was ‘deeply troubled’ to learn of the decision to release Mr. Caro Quintero from prison, and that it would ‘vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro Quintero faces charges in the United States for the crimes he committed,’” the WSJ article said.

President Obama’s National Security Council spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, released a statement as well, according to USA Today on Saturday:

We are deeply concerned by the release of Rafael Caro Quintero from prison in Mexico. He had been serving a 40-year prison term for the 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.

We have seen reports that another individual connected to Camarena’s killing could also be released.

We remain as committed today in seeing Quintero and others involved in this crime face justice in the United States as we were in the immediate aftermath of Kiki Camarena’s murder and will work closely with the Mexican authorities on this.

Camarena was kidnapped near the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara, and his horrifically beaten body was discovered a month later on the side of a street.

The incident sparked one of the largest homicide investigations ever launched by the DEA.

Camarena’s story has been recounted in multiple books, movies and documentaries, and national drug-awareness “Red Ribbon week” was established in his honor.

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