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Despite U.S. concerns, Mexico releases murderer who led in formation of cartels

Agent Enrique Camarena (Photo: U.S. DEA)Many Americans remember the brutal torture and killing of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Camarena was an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agent’s kidnapping and murder are recounted in films and books.

Now Mexico has released Rafael Caro Quintero, the drug lord who kidnapped and killed Camarena and the agent’s pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar. Quintero was also implicated in the deaths of two Americans prior to Camarena’s death.

John Walker, 38, of St. Paul and Albert Radelat, 32, of Ft. Worth disappeared in Guadalajara. Walker was writing a book about Mexican crime lords. The two were tortured and killed after being mistakenly fingered as DEA agents by drug ring members at a party at a restaurant.

The Obama administration said they are “deeply concerned” about the murderer’s release.

Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has taken steps to record crimes and victims of drug violence in a new initiative. Whether his policies will address the cartels’ influence or the release of Quintero is another matter.

The U.S. government has called for Quintero to be arrested again. A wire service said Quintero has been charged in California for drug offenses and murder.

Mexico’s Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam has said his country won’t agree to extradite Quintero to the U.S., however.

The U.S. war on drugs began in the late 1960s under President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat. At that time, insiders were aware of drug use by government officials, celebrities and even presidents like John F. Kennedy. That use is credibly documented by official patient records noted in the book Dr. Feelgood  (Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes).

It would be almost half a century before Americans were told the truth about JFK’s use of methamphetamines. The drugs were administered by a doctor, Max Jacobson, whose office records listed celebrities and creatives like Anais Nin, Andy Warhol, Cary Grant, and Judy Garland among his patients. Various world leaders other than JFK were also treated by Jacobson.

Quintero hasn’t been seen since he strolled out of prison on Friday after he was released on a technicality.

The U.S. has spent billions on the drug war, but cartels remain a dominant influence in Mexico.

Cartels are also an influence in the U.S. Bloomberg News reported, “The cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually, according to the Justice Department.”

Such cartels benefit from the refusal of the U.S. government to enforce federal law and to secure the southern border.

Mobsters were often brought down during the U.S. Prohibition era via tax law, but that hasn't been adopted in an effort to stem the cartels.

Camarena’s death resulted in the formation of the Enrique S. Camarena Educational Foundation, Inc., an organization that seeks to provide information about drug abuse through educational programs.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Aug. 15, 2013)

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