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In February 1985 Camarena was kidnapped by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. It also banned overseas agents from using force, except where lives were threatened. Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Salazar (July 26, 1947 – February 9, 1985) was an 93,621, This story has been shared 91,033 times. [19] This later complicated DEA efforts in the investigation of Camarena's death.[20]. “Absolutely not,” Machain answered through an interpreter. In 1984, acting on information from the DEA, 450 Mexican soldiers backed by helicopters destroyed a 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) marijuana plantation in Allende (Chihuahua)[30][31] with an estimated annual production of $8 billion known as "Rancho Búfalo". The abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena (2005), by retired DEA Resident Agent in Charge James H. [4] From regular police work, he moved on to undercover narcotics work as a Special Agent on the Imperial County Narcotic Task Force (ICNTF). Author Elaine Shannon describes Camarena as "a natural in the theater of the street", able to "slip effortlessly into a Puerto Rican accent or toss off Mexican gutter slang—whatever the role demanded. Kiki Camarena died in 1985 and was a Drug enforcement agent since 1974. In November 1988, TIME magazine featured Camarena on the cover. [46] Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and he posthumously received the Administrator's Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization. “You’re lucky if you get justice for anyone,” the escort said. [3] His oldest brother Eduardo joined the Marines and was killed while serving in Vietnam in 1965. American intelligence officer for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). After the government presented its case, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict and ordered Álvarez's release. In the Netflix drama Narcos, Camarena's death and its aftermath are recapped in news footage in the first season episode "The Men of Always". Camarena was also the father of three sons. [45], In November 1988, TIME magazine featured Camarena on the cover. [4] Despite the family's difficulties, Camarena graduated from Calexico High School in 1966.[5]. [26] "Sanchez" became friends with the man running the plantation, who told "Miguel" it was outside a small, isolated town called Vanegas in the state of San Luis Potosi, just across the border from the state of Zacatecas. He is survived by his wife Mika and three children. So far, 19 people have been charged in the drug agent's death", https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23704/pariah-gary-webb-0998/, https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/the-last-narc-director-pistol-torture-death-of-dea-agent-kiki-camarena-murder, "Bodyguard Is Convicted in Case with Links to Drug Agent's Death", "Central Figure Is Convicted in '85 Killing of Drug Agent", "TIME Magazine -- U.S. His boys were 11 (Enrique), 6 (Erik), and 4 (Daniel) at the time of his passing, and Mika was left a widow at the age of 37. A school, a library and a street in his home town of Calexico, California, … In Fresno, the California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA) hosts a yearly memorial golf tournament named after him and presents an annual scholarship to graduating high school seniors. [6], In 1977, Camarena transferred to the agency's Fresno field office, where he worked undercover on smuggling activities in the San Joaquin Valley. [49] Camarena's wife Mika and son Enrique Jr. serve on the all-volunteer Board of Directors together with former DEA agents, law enforcement personnel, family and friends of Camarena's, and others who share their commitment to alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. After graduating from high school, Camarena joined the Marines. [7], In 1980, a colleague and close friend who had moved from Fresno to the DEA resident office in Guadalajara suggested that Camarena also apply for assignment at the office, where a position was open. The first programs were on a smaller scale and used mostly manual eradication, such as "Operation Cooperation" in 1970. [13] Mexican law enforcement on the ground also had some positive results. Enter Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena (Michael Peña), a Mexican-American DEA agent tasked at tracking the Guadalajara Cartel, which proves to be more … 264,518, This story has been shared 93,621 times. Camarena is the subject of the book ¿O Plata o Plomo? 91,033, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved The family—three brothers and three sisters—immigrated to Calexico, California when Camarena was a child. Guadalajara's spring-like weather and the city's American school and favorable exchange rate convinced Camarena and his family that the move would be good for the family as well.[7]. As part of the program, DEA was allowed to freely fly Mexican airspace. Heroes Under Fire: Righteous Vendetta (2005)[53] is a History Channel documentary that chronicles the events associated with and features interviews with family members, DEA agents, and others involved in the investigation. Look out below: Horrifying pic shows snake eel burst out of bird's stomach in... 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[21] There were several reasons for this. 132 No. Camarena was taken to a residence located at 881 Lope de Vega in the colonia of Jardines del Bosque, in the western section of the city of Guadalajara, owned by Rafael Caro Quintero,[34] where he was tortured over a 30-hour period and then murdered. Camarena, whose story was told on the hit Netflix series “Narcos,” was extremely close to cracking open a million-dollar drug pipeline from Mexico to the US when he was kidnapped on the way to lunch with his wife, the DEA has previously said. [24] The plantations were located in remote desert areas, where transportation was much less expensive. These three often coordinated their production and operations, and formed the core of what came to be called the Guadalajara Cartel. [41] The four other defendants, Vásquez Velasco, Juan Ramón Matta-Ballesteros, Juan José Bernabé Ramírez, and Rubén Zuno Arce (a brother-in-law of former President Luis Echeverría), were tried and found guilty of Camarena's kidnapping. Prohibited from solo overflights and undercover work, DEA agents in Mexico concentrated on cultivating informants, an often difficult task, especially as informing became more and more dangerous. [27] According to "Miguel"'s information, the main financier of the plantation was cartel member Juan José Esparragoza Moreno. Due to the difficulty of extraditing Mexican citizens, the DEA went as far as to detain two suspects, Humberto Álvarez Machaín, the physician who allegedly prolonged Camarena's life so the torture could continue, and Javier Vásquez Velasco; both were taken by bounty hunters to the United States. Mexican heroin and marijuana production became a concern to U.S. drug enforcement by the 1960s, but the first major American joint actions with the Mexican government did not begin until the 1970s. [3] Camarena's parents divorced when he was young and the family endured considerable poverty after their move. Camarena arranged two surreptitious solo overflights to confirm that it was a major plantation. "[25], Camarena's work with an informant they called "Miguel Sanchez" led to the first discovery of one of the new style plantations in 1982. The documentary points to another agent of the DEA working in Mexico, as a collaborator in the kidnapping. Desert production required well drilling for irrigation, and Mexico had strict laws governing well digging, a problem that was eventually solved by massive bribery. Many of Camarena's investigations involved the major marijuana plantations that sprang up beginning in the early 1980s. [32][33] Camarena, who was suspected of being the source of the information, was abducted in broad daylight on February 7, 1985, by corrupt Mexican officials working for the major drug traffickers in Mexico. Your Ad Choices [10] At this point Mexico was not yet a major transshipment point for cocaine, which is produced primarily in the Andean countries of Peru and Bolivia. With an end to solo American overflights as part of the eradication program, however, money and intimidation allowed farms to grow dramatically without coming to official notice. They have no law enforcement powers, instead performing intelligence, liaison, and advisory functions, collecting and passing along information on drug trafficking, and advising on local anti-narcotics programs. Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and he posthumously received the Administrator's Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization. His skull was punctured by a metal object, and his ribs were broken. Kuykendall. Senior Police Officer II (Calexico Police Dept.) Known to his friends as "Kiki," Special Agent Camarena had been in Mexico for more than four years on the trail of Mexican marijuana and cocaine drug traffickers.

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