US hits freed Mexican drug lord where it hurts

caro quintero
Rafael Caro Quintero
Photo Credit: Cuartoscuro

The U.S. expressed “deep concerns” when drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero was released from a Mexican prison in early August on a technicality, but now the U.S. has hit the murderous narco-trafficker financially by blacklisting additional companies from doing business with him under the Kingpin Act.

Caro Quintero, 61, had only served 28 years of a 40-year sentence for the brutal torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Guadalajara in 1985 before a Mexican federal court ruled last August that he was improperly tried in federal court when his case should have been heard in a state court.

Quintero had allegedly continued his “alliances with Mexican drug trafficking organizations” while in prison, using a “network of family members, front men and friends to invest the money he made illegally in legitimate companies and real estate investment deals,” Fox News reported.

But now, the U.S. Treasury Department has hit the drug kingpin where it hurts – financially – and blacklisted 20 associated businesses and Mexican native, Juan Carlos Soto Ruiz, who “managed” six of those companies under the Kingpin Act.

Caro Quintero was himself designated under the Act in 2000.

According to the article:

The law prohibits companies and people in the U.S. from conducting any type of financial or commercial transaction with those on the list. Civil penalties can hit more than $1 million per violation. Criminal penalties for corporate officers caught breaking the law can result in fines up to $5 million and 30 years in prison.

Enrique camarena
Enrique “Kiki” Camarena
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

“Caro Quintero and his organizations can no longer hide behind front companies with their drug trafficking profits,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told Fox News in a written statement. “These illegal enterprises fuel the drug trade and its violence and corruption. DEA and our partners at Treasury and elsewhere in government will pursue any and all means available to ensure that Caro Quintero is brought to justice and his criminal network is destroyed.”

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 road.

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.

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

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