Skip to main content

U.S. puts new bounty on Mexican drug lord Caro Quintero

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 5:25 AM EST, Wed November 6, 2013
Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Caro Quintero, a former cartel leader, is accused of killing a DEA agent
  • A Mexican judge overturned his conviction in a surprise ruling in August
  • The U.S. State Department is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture
  • DEA administrator: Caro Quintero's release "was shocking and disturbing"

Read this article in Spanish at CNNMexico.com

(CNN) -- Months after a surprise ruling from a Mexican judge made him a free man, U.S. authorities have placed a new bounty for the capture of accused Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

The U.S. State Department says it will pay up to $5 million for information leading to Caro Quintero's arrest or conviction.

Caro Quintero, 61, once leader of Mexico's now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, is accused in the 1985 kidnapping and killing of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena and his pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar.

He'd served 28 years of a 40-year sentence for the killings when a judge in Mexico's Jalisco state overturned his conviction in August.

"Caro Quintero was the organizer and mastermind of this atrocious act, and his unexpected release from a Mexican prison was shocking and disturbing to law enforcement professionals on both sides of the border," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement Tuesday. She said the U.S. government "will utilize every tool available, including the State Department Narcotics Rewards Program, to bring Caro Quintero to justice."

After a meeting in Washington in September, Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam promised that authorities in his country would reapprehend Caro Quintero.

But there's been no word on the accused drug lord's whereabouts since then.

The Drug Enforcement Administration described Caro Quintero as fugitive from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on felony murder and kidnapping charges, in addition to other criminal charges.

On August 9, a Mexican federal court overturned Caro Quintero's conviction, ruling that he had been incorrectly tried in the country's federal judicial system, when he should have been tried at the state level.

The slayings decades ago profoundly damaged U.S.-Mexico relations and remained a sore spot in the drug war. And the drug lord's release in August infuriated U.S. officials once again.

The U.S. Justice Department said freeing Caro Quintero was "deeply troubling" and it would "vigorously continue its efforts to ensure" that he faces charges for his crimes.

CNN's Mariano Castillo, Rafael Romo and Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT