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.