U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has requested the "immediate extradition" to the United States of drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, after he was captured by Mexican authorities last Friday.
Caro Quintero's arrest comes three days after a meeting between President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Washington. However, U.S. authorities claim that no element of their Government participated in the operation to capture the drug trafficker.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Capture of Rafael
Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) July
Arrested in Sinaloa
Rafael Caro Quintero was arrested in the mountains of his native Sinaloa in a joint operation by the Navy and Mexican federal prosecutors. A dog trained in search and rescue work was involved in locating him. It was this dog that helped locate the drug lord, who was hiding in the bushes.
This operation to locate Caro Quintero has been tragic. Fourteen military personnel were killed and one seriously injured when a helicopter crashed during the operation.
'Narco of Narcos'
Caro Quintero, 69, is known to be one of the most prominent criminals of the 1980s, and was among the first to ship drugs on a large scale to the United States. He was wanted for the 1985 kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique Kiki Camarena, and for other crimes related to drug trafficking and organized crime. A $20 million reward was offered for information leading to his capture.
The Narco of Narcos was the founder of the Cartel de Guadalajara and one of the most wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Sentenced to 40 years in prison, he was released early due to a sentencing error in 2013. Despite the fact that the ruling was reversed days later, and that he still had 12 years left on his sentence, Caro Quintero fled and never returned to prison. The "narco of narcos" got involved in the criminal business again, managing to evade justice for almost a decade.
However, his extradition could take months. The U.S. Government has 60 calendar days to submit the formal extradition request and gather all the evidence it deems necessary. In the case of Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán, former leader of the Cartel de Sinaloa, it took a year. Currently, El Chapo is serving a life sentence in the United States.