Caro Quintero seeks protection against torture and mistreatment in prison

The court ordered the immediate cessation of any type of torture and mistreatment inside the prison that could endanger the physical integrity of Rafael Caro Quintero.

Caro Quintero seeks protection against torture and mistreatment in prison
Rafael Caro Quintero seeks injunction against prison abuse and cruel treatment. Photo: Agencies

With a fourth injunction, drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero seeks to prevent acts of torture, mistreatment, and incommunicado detention against him while he is held in the Altiplano maximum security prison awaiting an extradition trial.

On Thursday, Fernando Garcia, the head of the Eighth District Court in Amparo Matters and Federal Trials in the State of Mexico, ordered the immediate cessation of any type of harassment that could endanger the physical integrity of the former leader of the Guadalajara cartel.

"The suspension is decreed to cease the acts consisting of incommunicado detention, segregation, isolation, captivity with physical and psychological torment, mistreatment, abuse of authority, torture, and injuries that put Rafael Caro Quintero's life at risk, as well as any other act prohibited by article 22 of the Constitution," the agreement states.

Caro Quintero's lawyers alleged before the Federal Judiciary that their client has suffered mistreatment after being held in the Altiplano prison, in the State of Mexico, following his arrest on July 15 in the municipality of Choix, Sinaloa.

"It is evident from the present lawsuit that the plaintiff is claiming incommunicado detention, segregation, isolation, isolation, captivity with physical and psychological torment, mistreatment, abuse of authority, torture and injuries that put the plaintiff's life at risk," it was stated.

Caro Quintero was granted a definitive suspension to stop his extradition.

According to judicial records, the Amparo lawsuit admitted for processing by the judge was filed on behalf of Rafael Caro Quintero by a person identified as José Mora León and points to the General Director of the Altiplano as the responsible authority.

Just on August 2, a federal judge granted a definitive suspension that halts, indefinitely, any attempt to send Rafael Caro Quintero to the United States and keep him incommunicado. The ruling can be challenged in court.

Without clarifying the scope of her decision, but without implying freedom for the former leader of the Guadalajara cartel, the judge granted the judicial benefit to guarantee an extradition process by the law given the requests of the U.S. government to try him in its territory.

Who is Caro Quintero?

Accused of Camarena's murder, Caro Quintero served prison time in Mexico until August 2013, when he was released in a controversial ruling, and last Friday he was recaptured and could be extradited to the US. In several appearances since 2013, the drug lord has denied any responsibility for Kiki Camarena's death.

Jordan affirms that Caro Quintero's testimony would harm "many people who are still alive and who were officials in the Reagan and De la Madrid administrations. It won't be good for them. Camarena died on Caro Quintero's orders. There are still people alive in the U.S. [from the Reagan administration] who are trembling and praying that he will not be extradited to the U.S. They don't want him here. They don't want him here.

Reagan (1911-2004) and De la Madrid (1934-2012) governed in an era that accelerated the political penetration of international drug trafficking.

After the murder in February 1985 of Camarena and the Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala, in the service of the DEA, Caro Quintero fled to Costa Rica, where he entered on March 17 of that year. On April 4, 1985, he was captured in a mansion northwest of Costa Rica and the following day, along with his entourage, was deported to Mexico.

Caro Quintero was the head of the Guadalajara Cartel at the time, and Camarena's crime was linked to his associates, Mexican drug traffickers Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo (imprisoned since 1989 in Mexico) and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo (imprisoned from 1985 to 2016 and now in prison).

The Guadalajara Cartel -- in particular Caro Quintero -- was involved with the CIA in a deal to bring arms from Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua to the Nicaraguan "contra," an irregular anti-communist armed force that the White House and the CIA created between 1981 and 1982 to fight the leftist revolution that ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.

For Camarena's crime, a US court sentenced to prison in the 1990s the Honduran drug trafficker Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros, liaison between the Guadalajara and Medellín cartels, Colombia, and captured in Honduras in 1988, and the Mexicans Juan José Bernabé Ramírez, ex-cop arrested in 1989 in California and released in 2020; Javier Vásquez Velásquez and Rubén Zuno Arce.

Owner of the mansion where Camarena was tortured, Rubén Zuno Arce was the brother-in-law of the late former president of Mexico, Luis Echeverría Álvarez (1922-2022), was imprisoned in 1989 in Texas for Camarena's death and died in prison in 2012.