A cartel founder and convicted murderer known as “The Godfather” and “The Boss of Bosses” will remain in prison despite a judge ruling that he could complete one of his sentences under house arrest.
Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, who founded the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1970s, was arrested in 1989. He gained wider recognition in the English-speaking world after he was portrayed as a main character in Narcos: Mexico, starting in 2018.
Taking Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo’s advanced age and poor health into account, a Mexico City-based federal judge ruled late last week that he could complete his 40-year sentence for cocaine trafficking, weapons possession and bribery at a residence in Zapopan, Jalisco.
However, the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has challenged the ruling, preventing the release of the 76-year-old co-founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel. Félix Gallardo has been in prison since his arrest in the Jalisco capital in 1989.
The newspaper El Financiero said that the convicted narco was expected to leave Jalisco’s Puente Grande prison on Tuesday, but several other reports – published before the FGR’s challenge became known – didn’t cite a specific date and noted that his 37-year prison sentence for the 1985 murders of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar and Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala still stood.
Félix Gallardo – who has always denied involvement in the murder of Camarena – has a range of health problems and was hospitalized in July. In addition, he’s deaf in one ear, blind in one eye and has cataracts in the other.
In a 2021 interview, Félix Gallardo described his health as “terrible” and indicated that he expected to die soon, saying that his family was preparing “a hole” in which to bury him.
“I’m a corpse who doesn’t aspire to anything more than being buried … [beneath] a tree,” he said.
Another Guadalajara Cartel co-founder who is also behind bars is Rafael Caro Quintero, who was arrested in northern Mexico in July.
Caro Quintero – who spent 28 years in jail for the murder of Camarena before his 40-year sentence was cut short in 2013 after it was ruled that he was improperly tried in a federal court when the case should have been heard at the state level – is imprisoned at the El Altiplano federal prison in México state.
Shortly after his arrest, a Jalisco court granted him an injunction against extradition to the United States before a formal extradition was held. A México state court subsequently validated the ruling, and its decision was upheld late last month after the FGR filed a challenge against it.