Thu, Dec 05, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Mexico receives letter from drug lord sought by US

AP, MEXICO CITY

Fugitive drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero sent a letter to the Mexican government asking officials not to give in to the US’ demand for his capture and extradition to try him for the 1985 killing of a US federal agent.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam confirmed on Tuesday that he received the letter, which was also addressed to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the Ministry of the Interior. He said excerpts that appeared in the magazine Proceso were correct, but would not elaborate on its contents.

“It’s not fair, gentlemen, that the Mexican justice system is subject to the plans the United States has for a Mexican man who only wants peace and relief for himself and his family,” the letter reads.

A Mexican appeals court in August overturned Caro Quintero’s 40-year sentence for the torture-murder of US Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena and a Mexican government pilot. The panel argued a state court should have overseen the case, not a federal one, and ordered his immediate release from a maximum-security prison.

He walked free on Aug. 9, a release that angered the US government and surprised Mexican prosecutors, who were not notified until hours after it took place.

The Mexican Supreme Court annulled the order last month, saying Camarena was a registered US government agent and therefore his killing was a federal crime. An arrest warrant was issued for Caro Quintero, who has been in hiding since his release.

The US Department of State has offered a US$5 million reward for information leading to Caro Quintero’s arrest. An indictment out of a California federal court charges him with kidnapping, murder and other crimes related to drug trafficking and Camarena’s slaying.

Proceso said it received the letter from Caro Quintero’s legal representatives, but it did not identify them.

“I received the letter like it appears there. It’s correct ... as you can see, the letter deals with a matter that will be resolved in court,” Murillo Karam said.

In the message, Caro Quintero says he already spent more than 28 years in prison and paid for his crimes. He complains that the US will try him again for the same crimes for which he partially served a sentence in a penitentiary in Guadalajara.

Officials in the attorney general’s office were not available to comment on whether extradition for the same crimes would be possible. A Mexican law prohibits extradition on charges already tried in Mexico.

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