The extradition of Mexican drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero is further from being finalized

The Extradition Of Mexican Drug Trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero Is Further From Being Finalized

Mexico City – The immediate extradition of drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, captured in Mexico two weeks ago and accused by the United States of organized crime, and the death of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar, is getting further and further from being possible, according to a new court decision.

According to the records of the file published by the Mexican Federal Judiciary Council, a court re-established on Tuesday that Caro Quintero cannot be moved from the maximum security prison in central Mexico where he is located until there is a decision. firm on its protection, something that will not happen before August 25 when a hearing is scheduled to deal with that appeal.

Said amparo, whose real purpose is to delay the start of the extradition trial, prevents any transfer or delivery of the detainee before said trial is not concluded.


The capo, one of the most wanted criminals by the United States, was captured on July 15 and that same day US authorities announced that they would seek his “immediate extradition.” The following day, the legal process began for this purpose, but that same day it was frozen with the presentation of various appeals.

The decision published by the courts on Tuesday is not final because it can be appealed and the Mexican prosecutor’s office will foreseeably do so. However, the statement is in line with previous decisions that also stopped any attempt to hand over Caro Quintero expeditiously to Washington.

Extradition processes are generally considered long and their agility depends a lot on the political will of the countries involved and the legal loopholes in which the accused can take refuge. In the case of the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, now sentenced in a US prison, the process took a year.

Washington’s efforts were immediate. The secretary of the federal Department of Justice Merrick Garland spoke with the Mexican attorney general, Alejandro Gertz Manero, less than a week after the capture, and the next day he spoke with Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. According to the note from his department on that date, July 22, both promised to work quickly to achieve the capo’s extradition.

As explained by an authority from the judiciary who requested anonymity for not being able to make public statements, Caro’s lawyers filed several amparos in various courts.

After an initial pronouncement in favor of stopping any type of immediate transfer —something that is common for judges to grant because there is no turning back from extradition—, these courts have been ceding jurisdiction over the case to one from the State of Mexico, which is the that is centralizing the issue and the one that was pronounced this Tuesday.

Once the amparo is definitively resolved – the sentence, when there is one, can also be appealed – the process would begin for the parties to present the necessary evidence for and against extradition. Subsequently, a judge reviews the arguments and gives an opinion to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on whether or not to proceed. That decision can also be appealed.

Caro Quintero, 69, has been wanted by the United States since he was released in 2013 from a Mexican prison for an apparent miscarriage of justice after serving almost three decades in prison for the murder of an agent of Camarena Salazar and a Mexican pilot. The ruling that freed him was later reversed, but it was too late. According to US authorities, he returned to his criminal drug trafficking activities.

During the operation of his capture, 14 Mexican sailors who participated in the operation’s protection work died when their helicopter collapsed for reasons that are still being investigated.



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