Nearing US Extradition: Appeals Court Rejects Rafael Caro Quintero’s Final Motions

Latin America World

“Morogris” for Borderland Beat

Rafael Caro Quintero is out of legal options to prevent his US extradition process from being approved by the Mexican government (photo credit: Infobae)
A Mexican appeals court declined to accept several forms of evidence that alleged drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero submitted as part of his final efforts to prevent his extradition to the US. This decision was finalized by judge María del Carmen Sánchez Cisneros.
The defense only has one more legal option available for Caro-Quintero.
According to Milenio, Caro-Quintero can issue a motion once Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) officially approves of the extradition. There are virtually no more actions he can take to prevent the extradition from being approved.
In the last ten years, Borderland Beat has closely tracked Rafael Caro Quintero’s extradition proceedings and has covered numerous legal motions he has filed in attempts to impede and nullify his extradition to the US. He faces charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and the 1985 murder of US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique Camarena Salazar.
In one of his latest attempt, his defense team sought to take his case up to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), Mexico’s highest federal court system, but this request was not successful.
Last month, DEA official George Papadopoulo said that the US government does not expect for the extradition to delay past 2024.
Caro Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, is wanted for the 1985 murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena-Salazar.
In 2013, he was freed from a Mexican state jail on a legal technicality, but an arrest warrant was issued by federal authorities a few months after his release. He was re-arrested in 2022.
In the US, he is wanted for kidnapping and murder of a US federal officer, as well as drug trafficking, money laundering and for leading a continuous criminal enterprise. The US government was offering a US$20 million bounty for his capture, one of the largest bounties ever offered by the US government. This was the highest reward the U.S. had offered for a Mexican national.
Double Jeopardy? 
Caro-Quintero’s defense team has argued in previous appeal hearings that the extradition request is a violation of double jeopardy. According to Article 15 of the Extradition Treaty between Mexico and the U.S., the Mexican government will not extradite a Mexican national unless multiple conditions are met. Among them include that the Mexican national does not face double jeopardy (i.e., being charged for Camarena’s murder in Mexico and then in the US).
However, the tribunal court responded by denying Caro Quintero’s motion and explained that although the US extradition request does contain the Camarena murder charge, it also includes other charges like drug trafficking and money laundering, which in itself makes the extradition request legitimate. In addition, it is worth nothing that the murder charge Caro Quintero would face in the US is different than the one he was convicted for in Mexico.
In Mexico, he was convicted of murder at the state-level with no aggravating factors. But in the US, Caro Quintero is facing a federal violation of 18 U.S. Code § 115. This code covers a specific type of murder: whoever kills or attempts to kill any officer or employee of the United States. This aggravating factor in the murder charge was enough for the court to rule it is not double jeopardy.