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Notorious drug kingpin released

The Guardian

The Guardian

Notorious Mexican drug kingpin and convicted killer, Rafael Caro Quintero was released from prison last week. After serving 28 of his sentenced 40 years for the murder of U.S. DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, in 1985, the founder of a major drug cartel, which later split into the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels, was ordered released by a Mexican judge after it suddenly determined he had been tried in the wrong court.

U.S. authorities were not notified of his pending release and were shocked by it. Caro Quintero is still listed as one of the DEA’s top five international fugitives since it is believed that he has continued to run his drug and money laundering operations from behind the walls of his former prison. In June of this year, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against 18 people and 15 companies that allegedly moved money for Caro Quintero.

The fact that U.S. authorities weren’t advised of Caro Quintero’s release is an indication to experts both inside and outside of Mexico that the current Mexican administration is not cooperating with U.S. law enforcement authorities, as previous Mexican administrations have. Also many in Mexico are concerned that it could signal a new penetration of the Mexican drug cartels into the judiciary. They question why it took so many years for the courts to decide that the case had been tried in ‘the wrong courts’.

U.S. authorities are hoping that they will be able to extradite Caro Quintero in the near future to face the drug charges which currently have him on the DEA’s Most Wanted list.

From this writer’s perspective, I seriously doubt that Caro Quintero will see the inside of a U.S. courtroom ever. With his financial connections and what appear to be hooks in the Mexican legal system and with an uncooperative Mexican government, it is likely that the gentleman will spend the remaining years of his life(he is currently 60 years old) living the good life in Mexico and continuing his criminal activity for the foreseeable future.

Short of a change in the current Mexican government’s policies or the election of a national government in Mexico which is willing to take on the cartels and their leaders like the two previous PAN governments did, Mexico will remain a country like Chicago was as a city during the heyday of Al Capone, except a much larger and much more violent level like the country has been experiencing the past few years. Viva, Mexico, indeed.



About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


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