INSIGHT CRIME — The founder of Mexico’s notorious and now defunct Guadalajara Cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero, has been linked to two recent events that have raised alarm among authorities three years after a controversial court ruling freed the veteran drug lord and current fugitive from prison.
Caro Quintero, now in his mid-60s, has been dubbed the “narco of narcos” and the godfather of Mexico drug trafficking. After establishing himself as one of the country’s most powerful drug lords in the 1980s, he was imprisoned in 1989 for drug trafficking, murder, and perhaps most importantly, for the abduction, torture and killing of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Now, authorities suspect that the legendary crime boss could be attempting a comeback, after reports hinted at his involvement in a pair of recent confrontations involving the infamous Sinaloa Cartel and its jailed leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán — a one-time underworld associate of Caro Quintero.
Caro Quintero started his career in the drug business in the 1970s running a mega-marijuana farm in northern Mexico to supply the US16-07-25KikiCamarenaMug1 market. He later progressed to the more lucrative business of trafficking Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cocaine into the United States.
Shortly after the brutal murder of the DEA agent Camarena in 1985, Caro Quintero was detained in Costa Rica and transferred to Mexico. After nearly three decades behind bars, he was released on a technicality in 2013 and soon went underground.