One of the most infamous drug lords was behind the killing of a United States Drug Enforcement Administration agent in 1985 and was captured Friday. According to Mexico’s navy, they captured Rafael Caro Quintero who, after being behind bars for almost 10 years, was finally released and went back to his old ways of dealing drugs.
Quintero was captured after a canine named Max found him hiding in a bush in the town of San Simon in Sinaloa state during a joint operation by the Attorney General’s Office and the navy. The location he was found hiding in was in the mountains close to Sinaloa’s border with the northern line territory of Chihuahua.
There were also two pending capture orders for Quintero from the U.S. as well as a removal demand from the U.S. government. Seems like this guy dug himself in quite the deep hole.
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in an explanation late Friday that Caro Quintero was captured for removal and would be held at the highest security Altiplano jail which sits around 50 miles west of Mexico City. A very brief video showed the capture of Quintero. His face is blurred out and he is surrounded by navy men who are suited up and carrying rifles.
There have been high tensions between the Mexican government and the DEA after Mexico instituted a regulation restricting the U.S. office’s tasks. However, as of late, the DEA’s new head in Mexico got a visa, which the U.S. authorities set apart as an indication of progress in their otherwise difficult relationship.
While the news of capturing this big drug lord is good and gives – some – rest to those who mourned the loss of the DEA agent Quintero eliminated. The fact is there is always someone who was high up on the totem pole right under the big current drug lord, and if that person at the top gets captured or eliminated, everyone moves up a spot and things continue under the new self-proclaimed drug lord and their new set of rules.
Almost immediately before Caro Quintero’s capture Friday, U.S. Rep Ken Salazar told a gathering of reporters that there has been good progress in the security relationship.
“I have been in meetings with the foreign minister and with the Security Cabinet, along with all our agencies that have included the new head of the DEA sitting at my right hand,” Salazar said. “So, if we weren’t welcome here in Mexico that wouldn’t happen.”
Quintero has been on the FBI’s most wanted list since 2018, with a $20 million reward for the successful capture through the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program. He was one of the most vital providers of drugs like cocaine, weed, and heroin smuggling into the United States in the last part of the 1970s. In 1984 he blamed DEA agent Enrique Camarena for a raid on a weed plantation, and in 1985 Camarena was kidnapped in Guadalajara, where Quintero is said to have tortured and killed him.
Perhaps with this capture, the communities can begin to heal and reclaim the land that Quintero had taken over – that is as long as another criminal doesn’t seize this moment and take his place.