"Drug lord of drug lords": US demands extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero

Rafael Caro Quintero has been one of North America's most wanted criminals for almost a decade - the US put a $20 million bounty on his head.

"Drug lord of drug lords": US demands extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero

Rafael Caro Quintero has been one of North America's most wanted criminals for almost a decade - the US put a $20 million bounty on his head. Now the drug lord is in a high-security prison in Mexico - and the United States is pushing for his extradition.

Mexico is richer by a "hero on four paws" ("El Universal"): It was the search and rescue dog Max who tracked down one of the once most powerful criminals in the North American country in the bushes, so that he could be arrested and imprisoned again. Rafael Caro Quintero, the Mexican drug lord most wanted by the United States, spent the first night after the arrest in the high-security prison of Almoloya, 85 kilometers west of Mexico City, according to the Mexican newspaper "El Universal". According to the Attorney General's Office, he should be housed there.

The Navy confirmed the arrest of Caro Quintero, the "narco de narcos" ("drug lord of drug lords") in Mexico in the 1980s - like Pablo Escobar in Colombia - on Friday. A video showed him being taken away in jeans and a shirt by members of the Navy. According to US Ambassador Ken Salazar, the arrest was made solely by the Mexican government. DEA chief Anne Milham had raved about the "incredible DEA team in Mexico" working with Mexican authorities. Caro Quintero had ordered the 1985 murder of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a DEA officer. The co-founder of the former Guadalajara cartel, Mexico's first major drug cartel, has been on the run since 2013.

At that time he was released after 28 of 40 years in prison for alleged procedural errors. Mexico's Supreme Court reversed that decision, but by then Caro Quintero had already gone into hiding. The US State Department put up a $20 million bounty on his head. "The arrest is very, very important for the US because Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the murder of our agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena," Mike Vigil, ex-DEA chief of international operations, told Sin Embargo. .

US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland thanked the Mexican authorities for arresting the 69-year-old. "There is no hiding place for someone who is kidnapping, torturing and killing US officials," the US Department of Justice said in a statement. They want to apply for his immediate extradition to the United States so that he can be tried there. Mexican officials, cited by La Jornada newspaper, pointed out that the trial could take at least a year.

The drug lord was arrested in the mountain town of San Simón in northwestern Sinaloa state. Most recently, he is said to have led the smaller Caborca ​​cartel. When a Navy helicopter crashed after it was arrested, also in Sinaloa, 14 passengers were killed. One officer was also seriously injured. They all supported the arrest effort, wrote Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on social networks. The crash then took place when landing in the village of Los Mochis, and the causes were being investigated.

A few days ago, López Obrador was officially received in Washington by his US colleague Joe Biden. The arrest of what was once Mexico's most powerful drug lord could be interpreted as a goodwill gesture towards Washington following tensions over issues such as security and migration. According to the International Crisis Group, around 200 criminal groups are active in Mexico. They are involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. In 2006, the state began to wage the "war on drugs" militarily. The violence has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and more than 100,000 people are believed to have disappeared.

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