WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of freed Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
The State Department said Tuesday that Caro Quintero kidnapped, tortured and murdered U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.
He has been indicted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of California on a host of U.S. federal felony charges and is considered a fugitive from justice.
Caro Quintero was 28 years into a 40-year sentence for helping orchestrate the killing of the DEA agent when he was released in August. A federal appeals court in Mexico overturned his sentence on procedural grounds, saying he should have been tried in a state court instead of federal court.
Caro-Quintero had served 28 years of a 40-year prison term for his crimes when a Mexican court ordered his release on August 9, 2013 on procedural grounds. Caro-Quintero is a fugitive from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on felony murder, felony kidnapping, and a host of other criminal charges.
“We are reminded every day of the ultimate sacrifice paid by DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena and we will vigorously continue our efforts to ensure Rafael Caro-Quintero faces justice for the crimes he committed,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Caro-Quintero was the organizer and mastermind of this atrocious act and his unexpected release from a Mexican prison was shocking and disturbing to law enforcement professionals on both sides of the border. The United States Government will utilize every tool available, including the State Department Narcotics Rewards Program, to bring Caro-Quintero to justice.”
The Narcotics Reward Program was established by Congress in 1986 as a tool to assist the U.S. Government in bringing to justice major violators of U.S. narcotics laws responsible for bringing hundreds of tons of illicit drugs into the United States each year.
The program gives the Secretary of State statutory authority to offer rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of named narcotics traffickers.
This announcement also comes on the heels of Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s largest drug prevention effort. Red Ribbon Week began after Camarena’s death in 1985 and is celebrated nationally each October, with local communities and school districts holding events throughout the month.
The Red Ribbon Campaign is dedicated to helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena's memory and further the cause for which he gave his life, the fight against the violence of drug crime and the misery of addiction. By gathering together in special events and wearing a Red Ribbon during the last week in October, Americans from all walks of life demonstrate their opposition to illegal drugs. Approximately 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.
The Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) manages the rewards program in close coordination with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and other interested U.S. agencies.
For more information on Caro-Quintero visit
For additional information: DEA , Narcotics Reward Program, State Dept. Targets
Indictment , Reward Poster, NBC