WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director David L. Bowdich, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson, U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary James Walsh, and U.S. Marshals Service Acting Associate Director Derrick Driscoll announced Thursday the addition of fugitive Rafael Caro-Quintero to the FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.”
Fugitive Rafael Caro-Quintero marks the 518th addition to the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list. Caro-Quintero is wanted for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena Salazar (a.k.a “Kiki”) in 1985. This is the first time a DEA fugitive has been listed on the FBI Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.
In addition, DEA and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Thursday announced the unsealing of an additional indictment against Quintero, alleging his role as leader of a continuing criminal enterprise and the individual responsible for the brutal murder of Camarena. The indictment also details his leadership role in trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana into the United States and elsewhere and reflects his criminal activities from 1980 to 2017. (EDNY Docket No. 15-CO-208(S-2).
On July 30, 1992, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, charging Caro-Quintero with violent crimes in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to kidnap a federal agent; kidnapping of a federal agent; felony murder of a federal agent; aiding and abetting; and accessory after the fact.
“Together with our federal partners at the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Department of State, we are committed to bring to justice this dangerous criminal and cartel leader responsible for the brutal murder of a DEA Agent,” FBI Deputy Director Bowdich said. “Special Agent Camarena was devoted to stopping drug trafficking and breaking the cycle of drug-related crime. He showed tremendous courage to pursue the most violent drug traffickers, and it is because of his courage, and his selflessness, that we’re not going to stop looking for Caro-Quintero until we find him and put him back behind bars where he belongs.”
“The DEA is grateful for all of the federal law enforcement agencies that have committed to pursuing Rafael Caro-Quintero until the moment he is captured and returned to his rightful place in prison,” DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson said. ‘Kiki’ Camarena holds a special place in our hearts and his sacrifice will always be remembered by the men and women of DEA who carry out our mission every day.”
“Our $20 million Narcotics Reward Program offer reflects the State Department’s commitment to the government-wide effort to track down Caro-Quintero,” James Walsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOS said. “We’re pleased to be using the Reward Program to support this reinvigorated law enforcement effort, and at long last bring this criminal to justice.”
“The U.S. Marshals remain steadfast in the pursuit of justice for our brother, DEA Special Agent “Kiki” Camarena,” U.S. Marshals Associate Director for Operations Derrick Driscoll said. “We will continue to leverage all resources and work with our law enforcement partners here and in Mexico to develop the information that will lead to the capture of Rafael Caro Quintero.”
Caro-Quintero is widely regarded as one of the Mexican “godfathers” of drug trafficking, and helped to form the Guadalajara Cartel in the late 1970s. Allegedly, he became one of the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana to the U.S., and was in charge of the cartel in Costa Rica and the U.S./Mexico border.
In November of 1984, Mexican authorities raided a 2,500 acre marijuana plantation owned by Caro-Quintero. The Guadalajara Cartel blamed Special Agent Camarena for the takedown, and decided to retaliate.
Special Agent Camarena – a former Marine, fireman, police officer, and deputy sheriff – was extremely close to unlocking a million-dollar drug pipeline from Mexico to the U.S. in 1985. Before he was able to expose the drug-trafficking operations, he was kidnapped en route to lunch with his wife on February 7, 1985, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Allegedly, the direct orders for the kidnapping came from Caro-Quintero. Camarena was surrounded by five armed men who threw him into a car, then sped away. It is believed that Camarena died within two to three days of his kidnapping, but his body was not found until March 5, 1985. Special Agent Camarena is survived by his wife and three sons.
The Department of State’s Narcotics Rewards Program is offering a reward of up to $20 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Rafael Caro-Quintero. Anyone with information concerning Caro-Quintero should take no action themselves, but should immediately contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Caro-Quintero is described as follows:
- Name: Rafael Caro-Quintero, a.k.a. “Rafa”
- Dates of Birth Used: October 24, 1952; October 2, 1952; November 24, 1952; October 24, 1955; November 24, 1955; March 9, 1963
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: Approximately 159 to 170 pounds
- Place of Birth: Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico
Rafael Caro-Quintero replaces Jesus Roberto Munguia on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
The FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list was established in March of 1950. Since then, 484 fugitives have been apprehended or located – 162 of them as a result of citizen cooperation.
Tips may also be directed 1-800-CALL-FBI (1.800.225.5324), or can be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.
Additional information concerning Caro-Quintero and the FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”, can be found by visiting the FBI’s website at www.fbi.gov.