Authorities Nab Mexican Kingpin On FBI’s Most Wanted List For Killing US Federal Agent

Nearly 40 years after he brutally murdered a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, a dangerous Mexican drug cartel kingpin is once again in custody.

Rafael Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for the 1985 murder of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar, but he served less than 30 years of a 40 year sentence because of a legal technicality. While he was found guilty by a state court, a judge determined that his case should have been tried at the federal level.

Since his release, Caro Quintero has spent most of the past decade evading a federal trial that could put him back behind bars. During that time, authorities believe he returned to his previous criminal enterprise and re-established a deadly drug cartel.

His time on the run came to an end recently when members of a Mexican military team tracked him down and brought him in to face charges. After tracking the fugitive to a particular area, the elite Navy team reportedly utilized a trained search dog to locate him hiding among shrubs and small trees.

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Tragically, 14 Marines died when their helicopter crashed during the operation that led to his capture in Sinaloa, a state in northwestern Mexico.

Caro Quintero has been a prominent face on the FBI’s list of most-wanted fugitives with a $20 million bounty put up by the U.S. government. In response to the news that he was captured, the Department of Justice provided a celebratory statement.

As U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland explained, there can be “no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement.”

He went on to express gratitude to those involved in the mission that led to Caro Quintero’s arrest.

“We will be seeking his immediate extradition to the United States so he can be tried for these crimes in the very justice system Special Agent Camarena died defending,” Garland confirmed. “We join in mourning the 14 Mexican servicemembers who gave their lives in service to their country and extend our condolences to the loved ones they left behind.”

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Caro Quintero reportedly kidnapped Camarena Salazar in response to the DEA raid of a sprawling marijuana farm in 1984. The infamous drug lord reportedly tortured his victim before killing him.