Notorious cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero, who is portrayed in the Netflix series ‘Narcos: Mexico’, has been captured after a lengthy manhunt that turned deadly.
According to ew.com, Quintero, a longtime target of US law enforcement, was arrested Friday after a search a team aided by a search dog named Max found him hiding out in the town of San Simon in Sinaloa, Mexico, according to Mexican officials.
But in a tragic twist fit for the drama series, 14 members of Mexico’s navy died and one more was injured after their Blackhawk helicopter crashed following the mission. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
According to ew.com, the drug lord had long been one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals, with a $20 million bounty placed on him through the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program. Known as the “narco of narcos,” Quintero is considered to have run one of the most powerful drug trafficking units, the Guadalajara Cartel, in Mexico in the 1980s.
He and his men were convicted of the 1985 kidnapping, torture, and murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, whom Quintero blamed for a raid on his marijuana plantation the year prior.
After serving 28 years behind bars, Quintero was freed by a Mexican judge on a technicality in 2013, and subsequently disappeared only to reemerge as a member of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Camarena’s horrific killing was brought to life for season 1 of the Netflix crime drama, with actor Tenoch Huerta taking on the role of the drug trafficker and Michael Pena starring as Camarena for the show’s haunting storyline.
In a statement after Quintero’s arrest on Friday, US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland marked the end to the manhunt and paid tribute to Camarena.
“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement. We are deeply grateful to Mexican authorities for their capture and arrest of Rafael Caro-Quintero,” Garland stated.
“Today’s arrest is the culmination of tireless work by DEA and their Mexican partners to bring Caro-Quintero to justice for his alleged crimes, including the torture and execution of DEA Special Agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.”
“We will be seeking his immediate extradition to the United States so he can be tried for these crimes in the very justice system Special Agent Camarena died defending.”
Garland also offered condolences to victims of the helicopter crash: “We join in mourning the 14 Mexican service members who gave their lives in service to their country and extend our condolences to the loved ones they left behind.”
The news comes just days after President Joe Biden met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the White House to discuss tensions between the new nations over drug enforcement policies.
The US government has requested Quintero be extradited to the US.