Fourteen Mexican Marines died during a helicopter crash while helping to capture infamous drug lord Rafael Caro-Quintero, who is accused of kidnapping and murdering a United States Drug Enforcement Administration officer in 1985.
The cartel leader was arrested on Friday by Mexican forces.
Caro-Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara cartel, was released from Mexican prison in 2013 after serving 28 years. His sentence had been overturned by an appeals court, but it was quickly upheld by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, by the time the decision was made to uphold his sentence, he had already left the prison in a vehicle that was waiting for him.
The drug lord quickly reverted to his bloody, drug smuggling ways. It is believed that he has been working with the Sinaloa cartel.
“Caro Quintero was from Badiraguato, Sinaloa, the same area as Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the former Sinaloa cartel leader now serving a life sentence in the United States. He eventually became one of the ‘godfathers’ of Mexican drug trafficking,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
In 2018, the FBI added him to its Top Ten Most Wanted list and the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program offered a $20 million reward for his capture.
Caro-Quintero was found by a search dog in San Simon during an operation being conducted by the Navy and Attorney General’s Office. There were two pending Mexican arrest orders for him as well as an extradition request from the US government.
“President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has maintained that he is not interested in detaining drug lords and prefers to avoid violence,” the report says. “But the arrest came just days after López Obrador met with U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House.”
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said that he is being held at the the maximum security Altiplano prison awaiting extradition.
The helicopter crash appears to have been an accident, according to reports, but the cause is still under investigation.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement celebrating the arrest and expressing remorse for the families of those who died in the helicopter crash.
“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement,” he said in a statement. “Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by DEA and their Mexican partners to bring Caro-Quintero to justice for his alleged crimes, including the torture and execution of DEA Special Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena. We will be seeking his immediate extradition to the United States so he can be tried for these crimes in the very justice system Special Agent Camarena died defending.”