US to Mexico: Please Arrest Kingpin You Just Freed

Rafael Caro Quintero could be extradited

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 15, 2013 7:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mexico released drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero last week, 12 years shy of his 40-year sentence for ordering the murder of an American DEA agent, and now the US has asked Mexico to kindly re-arrest him, the New York Times reports. The US wants to extradite Caro Quintero, and the Los Angeles Times reports that a Mexican judge has already ordered his arrest. Officials anonymously told the NYT it was Mexico's own attorney general who urged the US to make the move, indicating Mexico would comply with the request. The AG has publicly said he would appeal the ruling that freed Caro Quintero in the first place, and reportedly urged the US to act in case he wasn't able to successfully do so.

One wrench: No one knows for sure where Caro Quintero is—security agents trailing him after his 2am release on Friday soon lost him. A second: There's also the question of whether he can be extradited on charges related to DEA agent Enrique Camarena's murder, since he has already been prosecuted on that matter and a double-jeopardy provision exists. But Caro Quintero was actually released after his lawyers successfully argued his case wasn't tried in state court as it should have been, and the US could argue that ruling means his federal court trial was not legitimate. A second option would be to extradite him on suspicion of other crimes; US authorities believe he remained involved in drugs and money-laundering while behind bars.

The undated file photo distributed by the Mexican government shows Rafael Caro Quintero.
The undated file photo distributed by the Mexican government shows Rafael Caro Quintero.   (AP Photo/File)
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