February 8, 2023

Judge stops the extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero to the US

Read Time:5 Minute, 40 Second


(Cnn in Spanish) — A Mexican judge suspended the extradition to the United States of Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the most wanted men by the FBI and who was arrested on July 15, according to a ruling made known to CNN. Against him weighed an order to extradite him.

Lawyer believes that extradition of Caro Quintero would take years 5:52

The judicial decision responds to a request for amparo, which asked to guarantee the prior extradition procedure for Caro Quintero before the measure is executed, in accordance with the provisions of the treaty between Mexico and the United States. With this argument, the judge granted the “flat suspension” of the extradition until said process is completed. He also determined that Caro Quintero must remain in the maximum security prison of the State of Mexico where he is located and that is available to the court.

Caro Quintero, 69, known as the “narco de narcos,” is considered by Mexican authorities to be the founder of the Guadalajara cartel. He is accused of trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. He is also one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Persons. The United States justice was looking for him, among other crimes, for the kidnapping, torture and murder in 1985 of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA, for its acronym in English).

The amparos to avoid the extradition of Caro Quintero

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said this Monday in his morning conference that since Saturday they have presented amparos that try to stop the delivery of Caro Quintero to the United States.

“On Saturday, amparos were filed and are being processed and the authorities are responding to judges, both the Prosecutor’s Office and the Secretary of the Navy, but the protection of Mr. Caro Quintero is being requested through amparo appeals. The process is being seen, It will act, of course, as always, in a legal manner. Whatever is decided in the procedure, but we will take care that there is no corruption, “said the president.

Caro Quintero had his first hearing last Saturday, where his arrest on July 15 in the municipality of Choix, Sinaloa was classified as legal. In addition, he was notified of the arrest warrant against him for the purpose of extradition to the US, a process that could take years, according to experts consulted by CNN.

A process that is usually “long”

Extradition processes “are usually long,” Samuel González Ruíz, a specialist in security issues, told CNN. The US government has 60 days from last Saturday to make a formal request for extradition and provide all the necessary evidence for a judge to assess them in Mexico and determine whether or not to proceed.

In the United States, two arrest warrants are pending against Caro Quintero, one in the state of California and the other in New York, the same court that tried Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán for drug trafficking crimes.

The recapture of Caro Quintero on July 15 was achieved in Sinaloa, in western Mexico, according to the country’s Navy in a statement. He was found in the bushes by a dog that accompanied the operation, added the statement of the authorities.

Images of the arrest of Caro Quintero 2:21

At that time, the Attorney General’s Office reported that Caro Quintero would be transferred to the Social Rehabilitation Center Number 1 (Altiplano), in Almoloya, State of Mexico.

The record of Caro Quintero

Caro Quintero had been arrested in 1985, accused of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a DEA agent. He was then sentenced to 40 years in prison, but spent 28 years in jail because in 2013 a Mexican state court ordered his release after finding irregularities in the judicial process he faced.

The fugitive returned to drug trafficking as a top leader of the Sinaloa cartel, according to the FBI.

Is drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero still active? 2:34

The Secretary of Justice of the United States, Merrick Garland, said last Friday that his country was going to seek the immediate extradition of Caro Quintero so that he can be tried “in the same justice system that the special agent (of the DEA) Camarena died defending”.

“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures and murders American law enforcement,” Garland said.

“We are deeply grateful to the Mexican authorities for the capture and arrest of Rafael Caro Quintero. Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by the DEA and its Mexican partners to bring Caro Quintero to justice for his alleged crimes, including the torture and execution of DEA Special Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.” he added.

One of the most wanted men

In 2018, US authorities announced a $20 million reward for Caro Quintero and included him on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.

That year, Caro Quintero told the journalist Anabel Hernández, in an interview from the underground, that he was not a drug trafficker and that he lives off the help of others. However, already in 2017, the authorities confirmed that he was still active in drug trafficking along with “el Mayo” Zambada and both would be the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel at that time, according to the report “National Drug Threat Assessment” of the agency United States Drug Enforcement.

Caro Quintero was indicted in the United States Central District of California for kidnapping and murder of a federal agent, conspiracy to kidnap a federal agent, violent crimes in support of organized crime, conspiracy to commit violent crimes in support of organized crime, aiding and abetting, abetting after the fact, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, and continuing criminal enterprise, as recorded by the State Department.

“For more than 30 years, the men and women of the DEA have worked tirelessly to bring Caro Quintero to justice,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a note to agency staff following the arrest. “Today’s arrest is the result of years of his blood, his sweat and his tears. Without his work, Caro Quintero would not face justice”.

AMLO says that the DEA did not have “direct interference” in the capture of Caro Quintero

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, confirmed this Monday in his morning press conference that the DEA did not have “direct interference” in the capture of Rafael Cano Quintero, he said that it was an intelligence work of the Prosecutor’s Office with the support of the Secretariat of Navy.

The president indicated that the DEA did not locate Caro Quintero. López Obrador lamented the death of 14 members of the Navy when a helicopter, which was part of the operation, collapsed.

With information from Natalia Cano.



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