WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder met with Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam last week to discuss the release by the Mexican government of Rafael Caro Quintero, who was convicted of murdering Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in February 1985.
Caro Quintero was convicted and sentenced in Mexico for charges related to the 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA Camarena. He was sentenced to serve 40 years in a Mexican prison in December 1989 but, after serving only 28 years of his sentence, a Mexican court ruled that he had been improperly tried in a Mexican federal court rather than a state court and ordered his release on August 9, 2013. Mexican authorities are seeking reversal of that decision. Nonetheless, Caro Quintero remains at large.
Attorney General Holder expressed grave concerns and disappointment immediately after learning of Caro Quintero’s premature release. At today’s meeting with Mexican Attorney General Murillo, Attorney General Holder reiterated those concerns.
“I appreciated the chance to discuss the recent developments in the case connected to the murder of DEA special agent Kiki Camarena and other important matters with Attorney General Murillo this afternoon. I look forward to working with him to continue to advance our shared commitment to the rule of law. Nothing will weaken our resolve to hold accountable those who commit acts of violence against our brave law enforcement agents,” said Attorney General Holder. “The kidnapping and murder of Agent Camarena was a heinous crime that shocked criminal justice professionals on both sides of the border. Like many, I was surprised and deeply concerned to learn about the release of Rafael Caro Quintero last month. We will continue to work with our Mexican counterparts to ensure that Caro Quintero does not escape justice.”
In May 1987, the Department of Justice, through the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, indicted Caro Quintero and several others, for conspiracy and racketeering charges related to the kidnapping, torture and murder in Mexico of Agent Camarena. Since then, the Department of Justice has continued to make clear to Mexican authorities the continued interest of the United States in ensuring that Caro Quintero faces justice.