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Archive for July 15th, 2022

Mexican Authorities Arrest Drug Lord Behind Murder of DEA Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena

By Allan Lengel

Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who was behind the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985, was captured Friday by Mexican authorities. Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed to immediately seek extradition to the U.S.

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

Mexican forces, in conjunction with the DEA, captured Caro Quintero after a search dog named “Max” found him hiding in brush in the town of San Simon in Sinaloa state during a joint operation by the navy and Attorney General’s Office, a navy statement said, according to the Associated Press.

During the operation, a Mexican navy Blackhawk helicopter crashed near the coastal city of Los Mochis, killing 14 people, AP reported.

Caro Quintero served 28 years of a 40 year sentence for the murder of Camarena. But the Mexican court released him early, saying he should have been prosecuted in state court rather than federal. After his release, he returned to trafficking drugs.

“Today, our incredible DEA team in Mexico worked in partnership with Mexican authorities to capture and arrest Rafael Caro Quintero, who is charged in the United States with the torture and murder of DEA Special Agent Kiki Camarena and with many other crimes,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in a statement. “For more than 30 years, the men and women of DEA have worked tirelessly to bring Caro Quintero to justice. Today’s arrest is the result of years of your blood, sweat, and tears.  Without your work, Caro Quintero would not face justice.”

“I am grateful also to the men and women of the Mexican Navy, Semar. We mourn the tragic deaths of the 14 Mexican marines who lost their lives today in service to their country.”

She went on to say that Camarena “embodied the very best of DEA: he was a tenacious agent who relentlessly pursued the most dangerous drug cartels operating in Mexico.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a statement:

“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement. We are deeply grateful to Mexican authorities for their capture and arrest of Rafael Caro-Quintero. Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by DEA and their Mexican partners.”

 

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement: Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell

DEA Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl-Laced Pills in California

About 1 million fentanyl-laced pills seized in California. Photo: DEA

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized about 1 million fake pills laced with fentanyl in Inglewood, Calif., setting a record for the largest seizure of the synthetic opioid in the state’s history. 

Beginning in May, the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 48 began investigating a Los Angeles-area drug trafficking organization with suspected links to the Sinaloa Cartel. Agents identified narcotic couriers and stash house managers who were involved. 

The seizure was made while agents executed a search warrant on July 5 at an Inglewood residence. 

The street value of fentanyl was approximately $15 to $20 million, the DEA. 

“This massive seizure disrupted the flow of dangerous amounts of fentanyl into our streets and probably saved many lives,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner said in a statement. “The deceptive marketing coupled with the ease of accessibility makes these small and seemingly innocuous pills a significant threat to the health and safety of all our communities. A staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned.”

In a letter to local, state and federal law enforcement in April, the DEA warned about a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass overdoses.

IG: Secret Service Deleted Text Messages from Jan. 5 And 6, Despite Request to Preserve Them

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents erased text messages sent and received during a two-day period surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection, the inspector general for Homeland Security said.

The messages were erased, even though the inspector general asked that they be preserved for the investigation into the events of Jan. 6, the IG said in a letter obtained by The New York Times. 

“It’s concerning,” U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told The Times. “It’s important for us to get as much information about how this discrepancy occurred.”

The Secret Service took issue with some of the allegations, saying “some phones” had “lost” data as part of a three-month “system migration” in January 2021, but insisted that none of the lost texts were relevant to the inquiry. 

The migration was underway before the inspector general had requested the data, the agency said in a statement, adding that none of the messages were “maliciously” deleted.