Release of DEA Agent Kiki Camarena’s “Murderer” Is Game Changer for CIA

Narco-Trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero Knows Where All the Skeletons Are Buried in the US’ Dirty Drug War

By Bill Conroy-NarcoNews

*The following are excerpts from the latest analysis by one of my favorite investigative journalists Bill Conroy at NarcoNews. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety here at NarcoNews:

The recent release from a Mexican prison of Rafael Caro Quintero — a godfather in Mexico’s Narco-Trafficking world — rips a scab off a long metastasizing tumor in the US drug war.

A Mexican federal court on Friday, Aug. 9, overturned Caro Quintero’s 40-year sentence after 28 years served because, the court contends, he was tried wrongly in a federal court for a state offense. Caro Quintero was convicted of orchestrating the brutal torture and murder of US DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena — who was abducted on Feb. 7, 1985, after leaving the US Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet his wife for lunch. His body was found several weeks later buried in a shallow grave some 70 miles north of Guadalajara.

Caro Quintero’s release from prison brings to the surface once again some longstanding, unsettled questions about the US government’s role in the war on drugs. The recent mainstream media coverage of Caro Quintero’s release has focused, in the main, on the shock and anger of US officials — who are now waving the Camarena case in the public arena like a bloody flag, arguing his honor, and that of the nation’s, must be avenged in the wake of Mexico’s affront in allowing Caro Quintero to walk free.

What is not being discussed is the US government’s complicity in Caro Quintero’s narco-trafficking business, and, yes, even in the Camarena’s gruesome murder.

Breaking It Down

In his definitive book about the US drug war, titled “Down by the River,” journalist Charles Bowden reveals that DEA special agent Camarena spent some time in Mexico with another DEA agent, Phil Jordan, in May 1984, prior to Camarena’s abduction. Jordan, at the time, pointed out to Camarena that they were being followed.

Camarena replied calmly that the individuals who were tailing them worked for Mexico’s intelligence service, the Federal Security Directorate, or DFS in its Spanish initials.

From Bowden’s book:

Camarena brushes off Jordan’s alarm by noting that DFS is trained by the CIA and is functionally a unit in their mysterious work. And he says they are also functionally “the eyes and ears of the cartels.”

That is a stunning revelation, that the CIA and DFS were “functionally” working in unison and simultaneously the DFS also was in league with Mexico’s narco-traffickers — which at the time included Caro Quintero along with his partners Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, considered the top dogs in Mexico’s then-dominate drug organization, The Guadalajara Cartel.

In fact, the DFS also was accused of being complicit in the kidnapping and murder of Camarena and the subsequent attempt to provide protection to Caro Quintero — who was eventually apprehended in Costa Rica after allegedly getting to that country with the help of the DFS.

Caro Quintero and Fonseca Carrillo were eventually convicted and jailed for their roles in Camarena’s murder and the killing of his pilot, Alfrado Zavala Avelar. Each was sentenced to serve 40 years in a Mexican prison. Caro Quintero was 37 at the time.

But Camarena was not the only victim of DFS corruption during that era. A famous Mexican journalist, Manuel Buendia, who in the mid-1980s was investigating the connections between corrupt Mexican officials and narco-traffickers, including Caro Quintero, was murdered in 1984 allegedly with the assistance of DFS’ leadership.

A story by noted Mexican newspaper columnist Carlos Ramirez, translated and published by Narco News in 2000, describes the circumstances surrounding Buendia’s murder as follows:

Buendía was assassinated on May 30, 1984, on a street near the Zona Rosa of México City. The investigation was covered-up by the Federal Security Agency [DFS]. The last investigations undertaken by Buendía into drug trafficking led him into the rural indigenous areas of the country. Buendía had responded to a newspaper ad by the Catholic bishops in the south of the country where they denounced the penetration of the narco in rural Mexico but also the complicity of the Army and police corps.

Buendía did not finish his investigation. His assassination came almost a year before... the assassination of US anti-drug agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in Guadalajara had exposed the penetration of drug traffickers in the Mexican police.

… Agents of the the Political and Social Investigations Agency and of the Federal Security Agency were discovered as protectors of drug trafficking in México. The Attorney General of the Republic, in the investigation of the assassination of Camarena, found credentials of the Federal Security police in the name of drug traffickers. Caro Quintero escaped to Costa Rica using a credential of the Federal Security Agency [DFS] with his photo but with another name. ….

That which Buendía was investigating months before was confirmed by the assassination of Camerena, a DEA agent assigned to the US Consulate in Guadalajara.

Documents

The DFS was disbanded in 1985, after Camarena’s murder, and integrated into Mexico’s version of the CIA, called CISEN in its Spanish initials. CISEN still works closely with US agencies and officials, including the CIA, but it is the legacy of DFS and its partnership with the CIA that is being brought to the surface once again with the recent release of Caro Quintero.

In particular, a DEA Report of Investigation, prepared in February 1990 and obtained by Narco News, provides some detailed insight into the DFS/CIA connection. The DEA report was referenced in media coverage of the US trial of four individuals accused of playing a role in Camarena’s murder.

From a July 5, 1990, report in the Los Angeles Times:

The [DEA] report is based on an interview two Los-Angeles based DEA agents conducted with Laurence Victor Harrison, a shadowy figure who, according to court testimony, ran a sophisticated communications network for major Mexican drug traffickers and their allies in Mexican law enforcement in the early and mid-1980s.

On Feb. 9, according to the report, Harrison told DEA agents Hector Berrellez and Wayne Schmidt that the CIA used Mexico's Federal Security Directorate (DFS) "as a cover, in the event any questions were raised as to who was running the training operation."

That training operation, according to the DEA Report of Investigation, involved “Guatemalan Guerrillas” who “were training at a ranch owned by Rafael Caro-Quintero” in Veracruz on Mexico’s East Coast.

More from the DEA report:

Read the entire investigative report by Bill Conroy here @ NarcoNews

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