- The DEA wants drug lord Caro Quintero extradited.
- He has a $20 million bounty on his head.
- His lawyers say he’s not a flight risk.
Fugitive drug lord Caro Quintero has asked a Mexican court to void an extradition request made by the United States government. According to his lawyers, the drug lord is too poor to be a flight risk. Speaking on his behalf, his lawyers argue that he has no way of making an income.
They assert that he should be tried in Mexico and not in the United States. The following is an excerpt from the statement made in filed court documents:
“The plaintiff argues insolvency, because he says he is more than 60 years old, is neither retired nor has a pension, and given the fact that he is a fugitive from the law, cannot work or perform any activity to earn money.”
Caro Quintero has, in recent months, been linked to a slew of major drug trafficking cartels, which include the Sinaloa Cartel. Quintero is wanted in the United States to face charges related to the murder of DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena in 1985.
Kiki was executed by Quintero’s henchmen after the cartel. He was suspected of leaking information to the authorities that led to the destruction of a 2,500-acre marijuana farm in Chihuahua. The cartel lost billions of dollars due to the razing. Kiki was taken to a property owned by Quintero and tortured for 30 hours before being murdered.
The drug lord fled to Costa Rica after the DEA launched a search operation targeting him. He was arrested and extradited to Mexico a short while after. A Mexican court handed him a 40-year jail sentence but he was arbitrarily let go in 2013 after a court in Jalisco ruled that his incarceration was unlawful.
A warrant for his arrest was issued a few days later due to mounting pressure from US authorities. The drug lord had, however, already gone into hiding by this time. Quintero is widely considered to be among the pioneers of bulk drug trafficking into the United States via Mexico. He co-founded the Guadalajara Cartel, which was the biggest narco-smuggling syndicate in its heyday.
There are reports that the drug trafficker’s wealth has continued to soar even while on the run from the law. In October last year, the American government sought forfeiture of property bought by Quintero using drug proceeds.
According to court documents, he had facilitated the trafficking of drugs into the US between 1980 and 2015, and bought properties in Guadalajara using funds from the trade. The kingpin had allegedly tried to conceal the purchases by registering them under the names of family members and close associates.
The DEA has underscored that it will continue to pursue the fugitive for the heinous crime that he committed more than 30 years ago. The DEA is offering a $20 million bounty for information leading to his capture. He is believed to be hiding out in the mountainous Mexican Golden Triangle area.