Mexican drug kingpin wanted in killing of DEA agent captured

Rafael Caro-Quintero has been detained in Mexico, sources told ABC News.

July 15, 2022, 9:24 PM

Mexican drug kingpin Rafael Caro-Quintero, wanted in the 1985 killing of a U.S. anti-narcotics agent, has been detained in Mexico, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News Friday evening.

Caro-Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, has been wanted over his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico. Camarena's capture and torture were dramatized in the Netflix show "Narcos."

PHOTO: Members of the PFP escort drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, at the Puente Grande prion in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jan. 29, 2005.
Members of the PFP escort drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, at the Puente Grande prion in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jan. 29, 2005.
Mexican Federal Police/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement Friday evening on the capture of Caro-Quintero.

“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement. We are deeply grateful to Mexican authorities for their capture and arrest of Rafael Caro-Quintero. Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by DEA and their Mexican partners to bring Caro-Quintero to justice for his alleged crimes, including the torture and execution of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. 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,” the statement read.

Caro-Quintero has been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list since 2018. In addition to the kidnapping and murder of a federal agent, he was wanted for violent crimes in aid of racketeering, among other alleged federal violations.

The FBI was offering a $20 million reward for information leading to his arrest or capture and warned that he should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous."

Caro-Quintero was convicted in Camarena's murder and had served 28 years of a 40-year sentence before he was unexpectedly freed from a Mexican prison in 2013 after a Mexican federal judge ruled that he had been improperly tried in federal court, rather than state court.

Caro-Quintero allegedly is involved in the Sinaloa Cartel and the Caro-Quintero Drug Trafficking Organization in the region of Badiraguato in Sinaloa, Mexico, the FBI said.

PHOTO: This image released by the FBI shows the wanted poster for Rafael Caro-Quintero, who was behind the killing of a U.S. DEA agent in 1985.
This image released by the FBI shows the wanted poster for Rafael Caro-Quintero, who was behind the killing of a U.S. DEA agent in 1985.
FBI via AP

It wasn't immediately clear whether Caro-Quintero would be extradited to the United States.

Word of the capture comes just days after President Joe Biden met with his Mexican counterpart in Washington, D.C.

Mexican President Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been loath to go after cartel leaders because, he has said, he is more interested in reducing violence in Mexico.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events