Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mexican Supreme Court overturns release of Guadalajara drug lord convicted of murdering U.S. DEA agent

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court today vacated a lower court ruling which freed former Guadalajara Cartel boss Rafael Caro Quintero in August.

The drug lord was convicted more than a quarter century ago of the torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar at a Guadalajara safe house in February 1985. State Dept. puts $5 million bounty on DEA agent killer.

A federal appellate court in Jalisco ruled that Caro Quintero should have been tried on ordinary state homicide charges, releasing him after he had served 28 years in prison. Today a five judge panel of the 11 member Supreme Judicial Court overturned that decision on a solid 4-1 vote, ordering Quintero returned to custody. His whereabouts are unknown, although some believe he may be in Guadalajara, his home for many years.

The four judicial ministers who voted in the majority concluded that agent Camarena Salazar was an "internationally protected person," thus giving federal courts jurisdiction over his homicide - exactly the opposite decision arrived at by the lower tribunal. The death house on Lope de Vega.

Rafael Caro Quintero on release in August; Enrique Camarena Salazar as a DEA agent in the 1980s

Another man murdered with Camarena, Alfredo Zavala Avelar, was a Mexican pilot in the service of a federal agency, clearing authorizing federal courts to try his homicide case as well, ruled the judges.

A fifth judge found merit in the arguments of the lower court and voted to uphold its decision, placing much emphasis on the fact the Camarena did not enter Mexico with a diplomatic passport or as an accredited member of the U.S. consular mission in Guadalajara. His DEA work was primarily covert.

The Supreme Court's reversal on a question of law will ensure that several Caro Quintero accomplices convicted of related crimes remain in prison. They also had sought release on jurisdictional grounds.

The Guadalajara Cartel itself dissolved many years ago, with some members joining other organized crime groups. But the U.S. government maintains almost two dozen businesses in this city are fronts for Quintero family operations, or have laundered money for the famous marijuana exporter who once had an estimated worth of half a billion dollars. Assets of such enterprises found within U.S. territory are subject to seizure under American federal forfeiture laws.

Dec. 16 - Interpol asks for help in locating Rafael Caro Quintero
Nov. 27 - Mexican Supreme Court rejects appeal of co-defendant in U.S. agent's 1985 murder case
Oct. 21 - Sen. McCain demands answers on release of former Guadalajara Cartel boss
Aug. 23 - "Absurd and illogical," Mexico's A.G. calls court ruling which freed narco executioner
Aug. 19 - PRI admin distances itself from Caro Quintero release

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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