Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Wanted narco’s legacy is 30 active businesses operating in Guadalajara

Family members and associates of drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero opened more than 30 businesses in Guadalajara, Jalisco, while the cartel founder and convicted murderer was serving a 40-year prison term.

The still-active businesses extend across real estate, fuel distribution, mining, beer, new and used car sales, restaurants, fashion, footwear and beauty products, according to a report published Tuesday by the newspaper El Universal.

Twenty-five members of Caro Quintero’s inner circle – 15 associates and 10 family members including the former Guadalajara Cartel leader’s ex-wife, four of his children and a woman believed to be his current partner – were allegedly involved in the creation of the businesses using illicit funds.

The convicted murderer of a United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent accumulated a fortune of close to half a billion US dollars, El Universal said, but it is unclear how much revenue the Guadalajara businesses have generated for his family and associates.

Caro Quintero was arrested in Costa Rica in April 1985 for the homicide earlier the same year of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

The Caro Quintero organization in 2013.
The Caro Quintero organization in 2013.

He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in jail but was released in 2013, 12 years early, after it was ruled that he was improperly tried in a federal court when the case should have been heard at the state level.

A new arrest warrant was issued soon after Caro Quintero’s release, and in 2018 he was placed on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list and a US $20-million reward was offered for information leading to his capture.

But the notorious criminal has evaded arrest, and U.S. law enforcement officials said last year that he had returned to the narcotics business as a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

However, in an interview published in April 2018 by the news website Huffington Post, Caro Quintero denied that was the case and also recanted his admission of guilt for Camarena’s murder.

Family members of the 67-year-old ex-leader of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel have also attracted the attention of U.S. authorities.

All 10 members of his family who were allegedly involved in the establishment of the 30 Guadalajara businesses are on the black list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the United States government.

Diana Altagracia Espinoza Aguilar, believed to be Caro Quintana’s current partner, was added to the list in 2016. She was allegedly involved in the creation of 24 of the Guadalajara businesses.

Associates of the fugitive have also appeared on the OFAC black list although four were removed in August.

Diana Aguilar has also attempted to benefit financially from the use of the former capo’s full name: Rafael Caro Quintana was registered as a trademark with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property in 2017, El Universal reported.

Aguilar, a former beauty queen and mother of Caro Quintana’s fifth child who was previously imprisoned on organized crime charges, is listed as the sole financial beneficiary of the commercial use of the trademarked name.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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