Skip to main content

Mexico seeks to detain recently released drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
Members of the Army patrol the surroundings of the Puente Grande State prison in Zapotlanejo, Mexico, on 9 August, 2013.
Members of the Army patrol the surroundings of the Puente Grande State prison in Zapotlanejo, Mexico, on 9 August, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Mexican authorities seeking "provisional detention" of Caro Quintero
  • Mexico's attorney general says that Caro Quintero's release amounts to impunity
  • Caro Quintero, who had served 28 years, was released because of procedural errors

(CNN) -- Less than a week after drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero was released from prison because of procedural errors, the Mexican government wants him locked up.

The office of the Mexican attorney general late Wednesday said that it has issued a warrant for "provisional detention," acting on a request from the United States. A Mexican judge signed off on the request.

Once Caro Quintero is detained, the office said, the United States will have 60 days to formally request his extradition.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam earlier said his office would review the decision of a Mexican appeals court to release the trafficker.

Caro Quintero had served 28 years when he was freed Friday because he was tried in the federal system, when his crimes should have been dealt with at the state level.

He was convicted of torturing and killing U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1985, but the appeals court dismissed that conviction.

"I am studying the reasons of why he was freed," Murillo said. "The attorney general's office will use the resources available to it ... to avoid this type of impunity."

The attorney general told journalists that there was no extradition request in place at the time that Caro Quintero was freed, and it is unclear whether any such request has been filed since last week, according to the state-run Notimex news agency.

When asked by CNN, neither the U.S. State Department nor the Justice Department would say whether they had requested Caro Quintero's arrest.

Caro Quintero remained on the DEA's most-wanted list during his incarceration in Mexico.

Because the appeals court had vacated his conviction for Camarena's murder, any extradition request would have to be for other crimes, Murillo said, according to Notimex.

The ruling also dismissed accusations against Caro Quintero of the killings of two other Americans -- John Clay Walker of Minneapolis and Albert Radelat of Fort Worth. The family of one of the Americans killed says they were targeted in retaliation for DEA drug raids.

A conviction for drug trafficking was upheld, but Caro Quintero had already completed the prison sentence for that crime, the ruling said.

He was indicted in the Central District of California in 1988 on racketeering charges, which were eventually augmented with charges of kidnapping and murder of a federal agent.

A second indictment in the same district charges Caro Quintero with conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana.

He also was indicted in the District of Arizona on drug trafficking charges.

CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT