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Kamala Harris Delivered The Evidence To Capture Caro

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“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

There is a version, which emerged from the circle close to President López Obrador, that during the visit to Washington last week, Vice President Kamala Harris informed the Mexican president that a DEA team had located drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero in Choix, Sinaloa. 

After a tense meeting, in which the concern of the United States was put on the table regarding the attitude that the AMLO government has adopted with respect to the persecution of drug traffickers who have introduced significant amounts of drugs into the United States, Harris offered to hand over to the Navy information that a DEA team —which the head of that agency, Anne Milgram, has operating in San Diego, California— had managed to collect for three months.

The condition imposed by Harris, according to sources from the National Palace, was that the Navy, the only Mexican security body in which the United States trusts, would operate the detention.

The DEA assures that the violence that shakes the Mexican Pacific coast comes from the struggle that Caro Quintero’s organization —the Caborca ​​Cartel— maintains with Los Chapitos, El Mayo Zambada and the Beltrán group.

Until August 8, 2013, Rafael Caro Quintero, who had spent the last 28 years in prison responsible for the torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena, seemed like a figure from the past.

That morning, however, Caro Quintero walked out of a prison where he had managed to control everything from intimate visits to drug sales: he did so thanks to a legal argument, and an injunction granted by three judges of the collegiate court in criminal matters from the third circuit of the state of Jalisco: Rosalía Moreno, Lucio Lira and José Félix Dávalos.

Thus began the second wind in the life of Rafael Caro Quintero. According to the history kept by the Mexican State, partners and relatives of the drug trafficker, sheltered even by the Beltrán Leyva brothers, preserved and increased the fortune of a man who in the 1980s offered to pay Mexico’s foreign debt.

From prison, Caro Quintero continued to operate his plot. His emporium encompassed hotels, restaurants, gyms, car dealerships, real estate companies.

Upon leaving prison he was protected by El Mayo Zambada and Los Chapitos. He set out to reconquer Sonora, a territory that, according to him, belonged to him by “right of antiquity.” There he formed the Caborca ​​Cartel and soon broke with his former allies. Sonora and Baja California began to fill with blood.

According to intelligence sources, Caro Quintero, through an armed wing known as La Barredora 24/7 (which made its debut by burning a rival drug dealer alive), and thanks to the alliance he established with his nephew, Rodrigo Páez Quintero, he took possession of an important portion of the border strip through blood and fire.

Caro guaranteed criminal groups free transit to the dividing line, as well as the protection, along the way, of authorities from the three levels of government. Unlike the Jalisco Cartel, the Zetas and the Michoacan Family, which attack and execute police and officials, he, according to official reports, preferred to buy them “and even become friends with them.”

In 2020 there was already a presence of his organization in territories as far away as Oaxaca and Guerrero. In November of that year, the DEA, which had offered the highest reward in memory for him (20 million dollars), lowered Nemesio Oseguera, El Mencho, from the first place on the list of the ten most wanted fugitives and placed to Caro Quintero instead.

It meant that Caro Quintero represented a greater threat to the DEA than Mencho himself (hit on the other side of the border by the Agave Azul operation that left more than 600 detainees and hundreds of frozen accounts).

Massacres and clashes that have occurred in Caborca ​​in recent years are part of the dispute between Caro and Los Chapos. The bloodbath that runs through Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco today has another of his nephews as a visible figure: José Gil Caro Quintero, known as El Pelo Chino.

After he left through the front door in 2013, the Mexican government let him go: they did not set up any operation to capture him. But the DEA hadn’t forgotten. He didn’t forget it. 37 years later, Caro Quintero will be extradited to the United States. According to the DEA, he financed several political campaigns, not only local, but also large ones.

In Mexico, of course, the nervousness is capital.

El Universal   Borderland Beat Archives


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