The White House is “deeply concerned” over Mexico’s release of a drug lord convicted in the 1985 killing of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the Obama Administration remains just as committed to seeing that Rafael Caro Quintero and others involved in the crime face justice in the United States as in the immediate aftermath of Camarena’s brutal kidnapping, torture, and murder. She said the United States “will work closely with the Mexican authorities on this,” in a statement Sunday.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) spoke Friday of their “continued interest” in securing Caro Quintero’s extradition.
The Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents in the United States have said the decision exemplified the “powerful dark forces that work in the shadows” throughout Mexico’s justice system. Corruption, they allege, allowed Caro Quintero to walk out of prison after serving only twenty-eight years of the forty-year sentence received from a Mexican federal court.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) labeled Mexico’s decision as “troubling.” Caro Quintero, their statement said, “was the mastermind and organizer of this atrocious act,” and the DEA will be “vigorous” to ensure he “faces charges in the United States for the crimes he committed.”
A three-judge panel in Mexico’s western state of Jalisco signed Caro Quintero’s release last week claiming “improper” procedures. The sixty-year-old Caro Quintero had been tried for kidnapping and murder which are state crimes not under the jurisdiction of a federal court. Mexican authorities did not provide full details on the decision.
Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam has said that his office will further investigate the case as Caro Quintero’s “charges were too serious to free him” without exhausting all legal channels.
Meanwhile, a cohort of Caro Quintero’s in the Camarena case, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, has also requested his release from prison based on the same procedural grounds. His lawyers have already filed his appeal and expect their client’s release within fifteen days.
Caro Quintero — a founder of the disintegrated Guadalajara Cartel — left prison before dawn last Friday and his whereabouts are unclear. “News media were not alerted until hours after the release, and U.S. authorities apparently received no prior notification,” Fox News reported.