Mexican Druglord, Rafael Caro Quintero, Released Early From Prison After Serving 28 Years
By Bianca Facchinei | Aug 09, 2013 05:02 PM EDT
Mexican druglord Rafael Caro Quintero was released from prison on Friday after being away for 28 years, 12 years shy of his original sentencing The Guardian reported.
Quintero, 61, was convicted of kidnapping and killing American Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He ordered the death of Camarena after he learned about a raid at a marijuana plantation named Rancho Bufalo by Mexican authorities, who were notified by the DEA agent.
A Mexican court overturned his conviction and ordered his release. The court ruled he was improperly tried in a federal court as the crime should have been treated as a state offense. An official claimed that since Quintero had previously served time for other charges, he should be released.
Quintero is reportedly known as the "godfather" of Mexican drug trafficking. From his cartel created in Sinaloa, Mexico grew other major cartels, like the Juarez cartel. He has also been linked to Colombian cocaine cartels.
The DEA website lists him as an international fugitive, wanted for "kidnapping and murder of a federal agent, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact." They also note he is wanted for the possession of several drugs with the intent to distribute.
Camarena was kidnapped on February 7, 1985 in Guadalajara, a drug trafficking hub and Mexico's second most populated city, after he cost Quintero and his acquaintances an $8 billion loss following the marijuana raid. His body was found a month later in a shallow grave, along with the body of his Mexican pilot, and both corpses displayed signs of torture.
By the time Quintero was captured he was hiding Costa Rica. Many U.S. authorities accused Mexican officials of letting Camarena's killers escape police.
U.S.-Mexico relations were strained during the time of Camarena's kidnapping and murder. U.S. customs agents were close to blocking the border to Mexico, conducting searches of all Mexican residents trying to enter the US and forcing traffic close to a standstill.