“I am desperate, worried, and I ask that you leave me alone. I am not a drug trafficker, and I am not at war”, stated Rafael Caro Quintero, who broke his silence for the first time since being released on August 9, 2013 after serving a 28-year sentence for several convictions, including the murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.
“I neither kidnapped nor orchestrated Camarena’s kidnapping,” he said. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I was in any way involved, I apologize to the U.S. Government, I apologize to Camarena’s family.”
Caro Quintero, the founder of the Guadalajara Cartel, insists that he left drug trafficking behind back in 1984, and that he has no interest in returning to this criminal activity that has cost him so much. He says that he granted Mexico’s political magazine “Proceso” an interview to ask the media to let him live in peace, and to make clear that, no matter what the U.S. government says, he has not been involved in selling drugs since being released from prison.
Wearing a blue shirt and baseball cap, in a small cabin at an undisclosed location, Rafael Caro Quintero looked tired of a hectic life. He denied his involvement in most of the activities the “Proceso” reporter asked him about, including trafficking drugs into the United States and the sale of cocaine within Mexico. He explained that all he did was plant, sell, and distribute marihuana in Mexico, because the hills where he grew up were teeming with fields.
During his interview, Quintero spoke of how in his childhood the need for money and an absent father forced him to become the man of the house, delving into the drug trade at 14 to take care of his mother and siblings. He started by working at the marijuana and poppy fields, but assures that all he did was marihuana distribution, working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The U.S. Government is currently offering a $5-million-dollar reward for information leading to Quintero’s apprehension. Although he was released in 2013 after a decision by the First Criminal Panel of the State of Jalisco’s Third District Court to the effect that Quintero should not have been prosecuted in Federal Court for the murder of the DEA Agent, on January 16, 2015 he was once again charged with the murder and a new arrest warrant was issued. To date, the warrant hasn’t been able to be executed, making him a wanted man.