How Can They Free Camarena Killer?

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Blog , Thoughts From News

How Can They Free Camarena Killer? On August 9, 2103, after serving 28 years in prison of a 40-year sentence, Rafael Caro Quintero was freed on technicalities. U.S. officials and citizens are outraged that the notorious drug-lord [convicted in the 1985 torture and murder of American DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena] has been released.

James Kuykendall, a retired DEA agent who worked in Guadalajara as Camarena’s superior, noted by telephone Friday that “The decision [by traffickers] to kill a U.S. federal agent changed everything”.

According to an article in the L.A. Times, “The Camarena killing strained relations between Mexico and Washington. U.S. officials were furious at Mexican authorities and suspicious that there had been high-level cooperation with Caro Quintero and, at the minimum, a cover-up of the crime by what was supposedly a friendly government.”

Camarena had worked undercover for over four years in Guadalajara, Mexico, and his efforts led to the eradication of drug production facilities by authorities in Mexico, which greatly angered drug cartel leaders. Hell bent on revenge, they murdered key informants. And then, on February 7, 1985, they kidnapped Camarena and his pilot, Captain Alfredo Zavala-Avelar (taken separately on the same day).

In the wake of Camarena’s death, a grassroots movement that began in California led to the origin of Red Ribbon Week — the United States drug awareness and prevention initiative — named for the red ribbons that people had worn in memory of Camrena.

How Can They Free Camarena Killer?

Rafael Released from Prison

Rafael Caro Quintero, seen at a Guadalajara prison in 2005, was released on Friday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

According to a statement in the L.A. Times, a tribunal spokeswoman said that “judges determined Caro Quintero was improperly convicted on federal charges when a state court should have been the proper venue. Because he had already served 28 years in prison, Caro Quintero was freed despite other existing charges.”

The U.S. Department of Justice said it found the court’s decision “deeply troubling,” and that “The Department of Justice, and especially the Drug Enforcement Administration, is extremely disappointed with this result.”

The Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents in the United States said it was “outraged” by Caro Quintero’s early release and it blamed corruption within Mexico’s justice system for his early release.

“The release of this violent butcher is but another example of how good faith efforts by the U.S. to work with the Mexican government can be frustrated by those powerful dark forces that work in the shadows of the Mexican `justice’ system,” the organization said in a statement.

Red Ribbon Week Get Red Ribbon Week products to celebrate the national awareness and prevention initiative that was created in the memory of Enrique Kiki Camarena. His death should have been in vain, and Red Ribbon Week is his legacy.


About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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