Rafael Caro Quintero served 28 years in Mexico for killing of Enrique ‘Kike’ Camarena but was released on a technicality in 2017
A veteran drug kingpin convicted over the murder of a DEA agent and then released on a technicality from a Mexican prison has been added to the FBI’s list of its 10 most-wanted fugitives.
Rafael Caro Quintero now faces additional criminal charges unsealed in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, and the US government increased the reward for his capture to $20m.
Caro Quintero was convicted of ordering the 1985 murder of Enrique “Kike” Camarena, a DEA special agent, and served 28 years in a Mexican prison before being released on a technicality in 2013.
His release prompted outrage in the US, and a new Mexican arrest warrant was issued less than a week later. Law enforcement agencies have warned that he is still an active member of the Sinaloa cartel.
“We need the public’s help in finding this violent fugitive,” the acting FBI deputy director, David Bowdich, said on Thursday as he announced Caro Quintero’s inclusion on the most-wanted list. “We believe he is still in Mexico.”
Several years ago, in an interview with the Mexican magazine Proceso, Caro Quintero denied murdering Camarena.
Bowdich said the most-wanted list was “one of our most valuable tools” and that 484 of the 518 fugitives who have been on the list have been captured.
Also on Thursday, federal officials unsealed an additional indictment against Caro Quintero, accusing him of trafficking in methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana from 1980 until 2017.
Caro Quintero has controlled the Sinaloa cartel along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García since the arrest of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Authorities say it is the first time that a suspect sought by the DEA has been added to the FBI’s list.
The DEA and FBI’s renewed push to track down Caro Quintero comes at a time when the justice department under the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is prioritizing enforcement against violent crimes and drug trafficking.
Recently, Sessions urged federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in drug cases when it was appropriate under law to do so.
The effort to arrest Caro Quintero comes a few months before “El Chapo” is slated to go on trial in September for his leadership role in the Sinaloa cartel.