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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Richard Valdemar

Richard Valdemar

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

Getting Away With Murder

A DEA agent's killer left a Mexican prison on Aug. 9.

September 20, 2013  |  by Richard Valdemar - Also by this author

A 1990 television mini-series dramatized the Camarena case. Photo courtesy of Richard Valdemar.
A 1990 television mini-series dramatized the Camarena case. Photo courtesy of Richard Valdemar.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Operation Safe Streets gang unit began seizing sizable quantities of narcotics and developing information on its origin while working out of the Lynwood station in the early 1980s.

We knew the dope financed and fueled the violent street gangs in Compton and the surrounding cities. We learned that both the major Latino and African American gangs bought the drugs they weren't producing themselves directly from sources in Central and South America.

Informants connected to these Mexican nationals operating out of Paramount, South Gate, Downey, and Cudahy began whispering names such as Angel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero. We didn't make the connection at the time, but these men founded Mexico's first major Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO)—the Guadalajara Cartel.

This DTO had become such a problem that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had assigned its agents to work with Mexican law enforcement in Mexico. A particularly effective DEA agent and former Marine, Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, was assigned to the Guadalajara office in 1981. In 1984, Camarena provided information to the Mexican Army that lead to the raid on "Rancho Bufalo," a 2,500-acre marijuana plantation. This dealt the Guadalajara cartel an estimated $8 billion blow.

The Mexican drug lord Gallardo demanded retribution on whoever was responsible for this raid and pressed his corrupt law enforcement contacts for the names. Crooked Mexican cops identified Special Agent Camarena and kidnapped him in broad daylight from the front of a police office on Feb. 7, 1985. Kiki was horribly tortured by his kidnappers and kept alive under the supervision of physician Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain. His mutilated remains were found in Michoacán on March 5.

The U.S. authorities were furious and began pressuring Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid and his federal investigators to identify the murderers and arrest them. Eventually the key suspects were identified—Ernesto Fonseca Caririllo, Javier Vasquez Velasco, Juan Jose Bernabe Ramirez, Ruben Zuno Arce (a relative of former President Luis Echeverria), Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, Dr. Machain, Gallardo, and Caro Quintero.

Gallardo was protected from prosecution by his corrupted influential political friends. Without the benefit of legal extradition procedures, Dr. Machain was "snatched" by U.S. agents; brought to the U.S.; and tried in a federal court in Los Angeles. He was acquitted by the judge. The others were arrested and tried in Mexico. Matta Ballesteros was arrested in Honduras, and Caro Quintero in Costa Rica.

Caro Quintero was tried in a Mexican federal court and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1989; the death penalty has been banned in Mexico. For 28 years it seemed that, at least under Mexican law, some justice had been obtained. However at 2 a.m. on Aug. 9, Camarena's murderer was released from Puente Grande Penitentiary in Guadalajara. The surprise release was due to a judicial tribunal's decision that Caro Quintero had been erroneously tried in a federal court instead of a state court.

Even the Mexican prosecutors were not notified of the pending release. In an unusual reaction, the Mexican Attorney General's Office called out the magistrates, naming them publicly. A statement from the office called the legal decision "absurd and illogical." Meanwhile Caro Quintero has disappeared.

Attorney General Eric Holder met with Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam to express "grave concerns and disappointment" with Caro Quintero's release, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

"Nothing will weaken our resolve to hold accountable those who commit acts of violence against our brave law enforcement agents," Holder said. "The kidnapping and murder of Agent Camarena was a heinous crime that shocked criminal justice professionals on both sides of the border. Like many, I was surprised and deeply concerned to learn about the release of Rafael Caro Quintero last month. We will continue to work with our Mexican counterparts to ensure that Caro Quintero does not escape justice."

A Los Angeles Times article reported on the "controversial ruling, which many here suspect was the result of either incompetence or corruption." And "Camarena's killing severely strained U.S.-Mexico relations in the mid-1980s. Mexican police were involved in the crime, and U.S. officials suspected Mexican government officials of orchestrating a cover-up."

In May 1987, the United States Attorney's Office in the Central District of California indicted Caro Quintero for conspiracy and racketeering charges related to the kidnapping, torture, and murder in Mexico of Agent Camarena. The U. S. government has formally requested the extradition of Caro Quintero to face the charges.

However Mexican officials have said that a U.S. extradition order could not be based on charges related to the murder of Camarena, but they left open the possibility that he could be extradited for other charges pending in the United States. A Mexican judge has ordered his arrest. But Caro Quintero remains at large.

Several Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies including myself were involved as technical advisors and extras in a 1990 television mini-series about the Kiki Camarena case, starring Treat Williams and Steven Bauer. It was called Drug Wars: The Camarena Story. It was based on actual events.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

S.S. @ 9/25/2013 6:23 AM

All of this just makes me sick to my stomach. Why are we still even bothering with Mexico. Cut off their funding PERIOD!!!! These assholes are laughing at us, because basically the U.S. is trying to play by a set of rules, and Mx. clearly has NONE. And here we are giving them money for nothing.

Jack Betz @ 9/25/2013 6:53 AM

Enough has become too much. Quite frankly, I could not care less if some morons want to injest poision in their system, from funny weed to coke to herion. But when the cartels commit murder and God knows what else against OUR citizens, something must be done. Either mexico cleans it's own house up, or we need to do it for them.

dntblvthhyp @ 10/18/2013 10:33 PM

Here's a link to a story telling about how Kiki was actually killed on orders from the CIA. Enjoy,

Samantha Johnson @ 2/14/2016 2:02 PM

To whom it may concern:

A Racial Biased Hate Motivated Organized Supremacist Group known as the family a private organization formed in 1960s an Extremist and hate groupsin some states with over 200 racist gang members have acquired the label,as the extremist Misanthropy groups Gangs,operate very similarly to Aryan Brotherhoods corporate and street gangs.[3] While hierarchy, colors, and turf are not emphasized as much within these extremist groups, symbols, signs, codes, special languages, and group collaboration and participation in patterns of criminal activity, especially crimes against human rights and civil liberties, are as much a part o the gang type behavior as they are to more traditional 'street gangs. This request to the FBI and other
investigating law enforcement agencies to consider this Extremists Supremacist Group memMembersnd crimes committed by this Extremists Supremacist racketeering charges.

Samantha Johnson @ 2/14/2016 2:05 PM

Group known the family acting and committing crimes as members of street gangs, murders of street gang members and committing organized crime.Committing Murder and attemped murder for financial gain;first/second degree murder; multiple murders in same proceeding;Attempted murder intentional and involved the infliction of torture; victim was a juror in any court of record in local, state, or federal system in any state and the murder was intentionally carried out in retaliation or prevention of the victim's official duties; murder and attempted murder intentional and perpetrated by witness of crime intentionally killed to prevent retaliatory testimony at criminal proceeding;Â especially cruel, atrocious, heinous; racial; committed along kidnapping, performance of a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14; arson; mayhem; by instrument; Membes the family are committing street gang murders to further activities of racist Gang Supremacists Group Members of
the Racial Biased Hate Motivated Organized Supremacist Group known as
the family under leadership of Raymond
Austin-Racist Gang supremacist group.

Samantha Johnson @ 2/14/2016 2:11 PM

Members of the Racist Gang Supremacist. Members committing murders to street gangs are Ira Morgan Ira Po Chatman Lorraine Lo Baby Robinson, Earline Austin Sheila Austin and the Biological family members Joyce Austin Brenda Campbell, Deidra Austin.Don Smith murdered pastor and clergyman , Charles Kinchelow Sr deceased, Claude Smith III pastor and clergyman, Lillie Bell Chatman , Marcus Payne , Liz a dark complexion woman height 5 9 African descent Vanessa Taylor Chatman and son Joseph Smith, Anthony McGhee , Gwen McGhee , Darlena Austin Charles Kinchelow Jr Antionette Alexander, Brittany Neely, Regina Wallace Louellen Johnny Louellen, Frenchie Louellen, Arthur Presley Barbara Presley, Tasha Presley Tiffany Presley Kiesha Presley , Dave Wilburn, Willie Braddock Jr Veronica Cobb, Alandrous Williams, Don Smith and 2 daughters, Shereta Royal , Kyle Louellen, Joshua Austin Vicksburg Miss V Esther Caldwell Costa Mesa CA, Erick Chatman, Anthony Chatman, Lisa Moore Edwards, Humphrey Moore Jr Humphrey Moore Sr Robbie Moore all of Memphis Tennessee Shelby County Tenn and Charles Kinchelow Jr and wife Yolanda Kinchelow Cheryl Kinchelow Charles Kinchelow III the Kinchelow family Indianapolis In Saginaw Mi Atlanta Ga sat atop a scheme to defraud multiple banks using old school tactics and techniques recruiting others to help perpetrate the scheme and Attempted Murder and accessory to two murders of African American men. Racist Gang Member Raymond Austin and Charles Kinchelow Jr Georgia Denton decided that her life was forfeit and attempted to kill her twice to protect the flow of ill-gotten gains and the accessory and complices to Murder of two material witnesses of killed in Vehicular homicides without a conviction at this

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