“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Rafael Caro Quintero|
Rafael Caro Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, asked a Mexican federal court to postpone his U.S. extradition hearing earlier this week. He also asked the judge to declare him unable to participate in the deliberation of the case.
Despite the fact that the U.S. and Mexican government suspect him of laundering millions of dollars through businesses across Mexico, Caro Quintero told the court that he lived in poverty. He also said he was too old to work and did not have a pension.
Caro Quintero also wants to replace Juan José Olvera López, the presiding judge on his extradition case. He claims that the judge is plotting against him and has already told his colleagues that he will deny his legal motions. Caro Quintero is upset that his hearing was made public because he asked the court to not release any details.
The court indicated that Caro Quintero’s attorney Carlos Isaías García Vázquez was not authorized to issue such legal requests on his client’s behalf electronically because he did not sign up as an online trial user on time. All court sessions are held electronically, and no public sessions are in scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court confirmed that they would decide on Caro Quintero’s motion once court activities resume to normality.
Last month, Borderland Beat reported that the Mexican government froze 18 bank accounts linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and Caro Quintero. The U.S. government has also frozen multiple U.S.-base assets owned by Caro Quintero through the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) over the years.
Caro Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, is wanted for the 1985 murder of DEA agent Camarena. In 2013, he was freed from a Mexican state jail on a legal technicality, but an arrest warrant was issued by federal authorities a few months after his release. If Caro Quintero is ever arrested in Mexico, officials say he will likely be extradited to the U.S.
In the U.S., he is wanted for kidnapping and murder of a U.S. federal officer, as well as drug trafficking, money laundering and for leading a continuous criminal enterprise. The U.S. government is offering a US$20 million bounty for his capture. This is the highest reward the U.S. offers for a Mexican criminal.