DEA ‘deeply troubled’ by early release of Guadalajara Cartel founder

The Tequila Files

Caro Quintero

After serving 28 years, Rafael Caro Quintero, a founding member of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, was quietly released from a Jalisco state prison in the early hours of Friday morning.

Caro Quintero had been serving a 40-year sentence for ordering the abduction, torture and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in 1985. He remains wanted by U.S. authorities but late Thursday night a federal tribunal in Guadalajara overruled Caro Quintero’s conviction, having found that he was improperly tried in a federal court for crimes that should have been treated as state offences.

As he had already completed sentences for killing two other U.S. citizens in Guadalajara and running two marijuana plantations in Chihuahua – and there were no outstanding charges against him in Mexico – the court ordered Caro Quintero’s immediate release. He left the Reclusorio Preventivo Metropolitano prison on the outskirts of Guadalajara at around…

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