Seven weeks ago, images of a massive attack on Caborca, Sonora was registered.
A convoy of an armed commando entered the city and terrorized the residents of the city, with kidnappings, shootings and buildings, including residential homes set afire.
Daylight the following day on social media video clips of the culmination of the night of terror was revealed in a scene that looked like something out of a horror movie. Drivers passing on the Caborca/Sonoyta Highway began calling in emergency lines reporting seeing a “pile” of dead bodies.
A dozen corpses found abandoned on the highway had been severally tortured before being executed. It was the passersby that recorded the scene and uploaded the grisly images on social media.
The attack was a confrontation between two organized crime groups. Just the latest of a string of violence perpetrated in the past months.
A dispute between the two groups is the nexus to the uptick of deadly violence in the region.
One is the Sinaloa Cartel led by Los Chapitos the sons of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Chapo, which until now has maintained its lock in the region, according to the attorney general of Mexico.
The other group Carborca Cartel, is new but a very familiar face to drug trafficking followers, allegedly heads the group, and he is in an all-out effort to take control of Sonora….. Rafael Caro Quintero.
Persistent Rumors seemingly now confirmed
Since the June attack RCQs name surfaced as the premier leader of the Carborca Cartel or “Sonora Cartel”. Confirming this as fact has been almost impossible. The fact that the DEA has reported RCQ is a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel has added to the confusion.
Other rumors circulating for two months is RCQ brokered a truce between Chapito Isidro and El Mayo, as well as the El Ruso now working with RCQ. It appears that RCQ’s conflict is with Los Chapitos and not EL Mayo. There are signs that Mayo has distanced himself albeit not completed fractured from the sons of El Chapo.
The separation by Mayo appears to have solidified with the so called “Culiacanazo”. In October last year, Ovidio Guzman was arrested. The Los Chapitos then took control of the city of Culiacán to force the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to release Ovidio, who was held by state forces for some hours, but before the reaction of Los Chapitos could get even more violent, AMLO caved to their demands and ordered Ovidio released.
For El Mayo, who has long sought to separate himself from Los Chapitos due to their impulsiveness, drama, and tactical errors.
When narco mantas (banners) appeared on Tuesday of an alliance between RCQ and La Linea there seems to be little doubt that the rumors from the past few months are true, not only is RCQ active he is leading the cartel and is hell-bent on rapid advancement in Sonora.
According to narco messages he has not only allied with La Linea, but also with the Chapitos nemesis, El Ruso.
El Ruso has been in a violent clash with Los Ninis of Los Chapitos, ongoing for months in Culiacan. Ruso (the Russian) a sicario working for El Mayo.
Some of the messages were sent to the president of Mexico. (read Buggs post which gives greater detail of the narco manta messages use this link)
In the narco mantas, were photographs included of several people.
The message text aims to alert AMLO to the images who it is claimed are causing violence in the northern part of the country, such as Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Sonora, of whom at least two are linked to politics.
Miguel Caro Quintero
There was less than an hour left of July 19, 2019, when a bus pulled up close to “la garita de Chaparral” POE into Tijuana, Baja California. The bus was filled with undocumented immigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, especially Central America. Ironic, that the U.S. deports undocumented immigrants into a country where they continue having a status of “Undocumented”, a dirty little secret I was made aware of when I began working with Mexico’s “Casa’s Migrante” during the Obama administration.
On this Friday night, mixed among the group of undocumented immigrants was a tall, slender, handsome man, mustached, his hair closely cropped.
This man did not have to worry about being exploited by narcos, or the danger it entails, for this man, a “rancher”, had a car waiting for his arrival, which quickly shuttled the deportee off to safety.
The next day he was taken to the Sinaloa city of Culiacán, where he would enjoy a celebratory reunion with his family.
The rancher’s name is Miguel Caro Quintero, brother of one of the U.S. most wanted, the accused killer of DEA agent KiKi Camarena in 1985, Rafael Caro Quintero, or RCQ.
Miguel Caro-Quintero had been released from prison, and not from Florence ADX supermax as most people were under the impression of. He was at one time incarcerated at ADX but quietly transferred to a federal prison in Victorville, California. He had been in Victorville for years; it is a medium-security prison.
MCQ never cut a deal with the U.S., he never cooperated and never even sought a deal.
In the end, his release was antedated to the scheduled October 2019 date, thanks to The First Step Act, which modified the previous BOP calculation of 47 days of good time per year to 54. He was sentenced to a 17 years in prison.
This entitled MCQ to an additional 7 days per year of a good time. Plus time served prior to his conviction. His crimes
Miguel Angel Caro Quintero was born in Caborca, Sonora 1963.
According to indictments, he is the founder of the “Sonora Cartel” or “Caro-Quintero” organization, which was comprised of leftovers of the Guadalajara Cartel, which was co-founded by his brother Rafael Caro Quintero.
Miguel was the head of the Caro-Quintero organization noted for trafficking large quantities of marijuana, heroin, and cocaine from Mexico into the U.S., and was involved in the production and manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Miguel was a DEA fugitive based on two federal indictments issued in 1988 and 1993 in the District Court for the District of Colorado, and two issued in 1994 in the District Court for the District of Arizona.
Miguel, along with two other brothers, Jorge and Genaro, operated the organization. Miguel himself was arrested in 1992. However not only was he able to continue operating the organization behind bars, but by using a combination of threats and bribes Miguel was able to have his charges dismissed by a federal judge in Hermosillo via one of those special amparos that cite human rights violations.
The Sonora Cartel specialized primarily in the cultivation, production and distribution of marijuana. The organization is believed to have owned numerous ranches in the northern border state of Sonora, where drugs are staged for shipment into the United States.
The Sonora cartel was a polydrug group, also transporting and distributing cocaine and methamphetamine.
Miguel calls radio station while being hunted
Miguel Caro-Quintero was the subject of several indictments in the United States and was the subject of provisional arrest warrants issued by the United States government.
In an act of astonishing arrogance, he phoned into a radio station in Hermosillo, Sonora, indicating that he was bothered by statements made about him, and that he was an innocent “rancher” and charges made against him by DEA were untrue.
In an outrage display of audacity, he then gave his actual home address and invited law enforcement officials from Mexico and the United States to visit him.
He was arrested by Mexican authorities in December 2001
After several months of cooperation between Mexico and the United States, Miguel was arrested for extradition in 2001 while he was riding on a truck in streets of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, a city in the north tip of Sinaloa, close to the Sonora border and in the same city where El Chapo was captured after his last escape.
Agents of the Public Ministry of the Federation, of the Organized Crime Specialized Unit, Miguel. criminal association to distribute and import cocaine and marijuana, and for the distribution of said drugs.
Caro Quintero was arrested in the company of Elieder Salas Moreno, aboard a Chevrolet truck, gray, model 2000.
At the time of his arrest he was carrying a 38 caliber pistol.
There were no arrests warrant in Mexico pending for Miguel at the time of his arrest.
According to information provided by the PGR, Miguel and five of his henchmen negotiated in 1995 with undercover DEA agents the establishment of clandestine landing strips in the United States for the storage of drugs in Tucson, Arizona.
The head of DEA stated in 1999 that Miguel Angel Caro Quintero “has operated freely throughout Mexico, with a home base in Caborca, Sonora, where he controls his drug smuggling activities,” and that “US investigations have corroborated the fact that he is colluded with some Mexican police chiefs, as evidenced by photographs in which he appears in meetings with police officers at his residence. “
According to DEA data at the time, “Miguel Caro Quintero controls the Caborcaareas and works in conjunction with his brothers Jorge and Genaro, as well as his sisters María del Carmen, Blanca and Lilia.”
Change of plea
Initially, Miguel pleaded not guilty but in February 2010 he changed his plea to “Guilty”. He never asked for a deal in exchange for cooperation.
He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 204 months (17 years) in federal prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release, for his role in operating a large scale marijuana trafficking organization in Colorado. He was sentenced to 60 months (5 years) for his involvement in a Arizona drug trafficking organization, to run concurrently with the Colorado sentence. He was given credit for time incarcerated in Mexico.
The defendant had previously admitted to trafficking more than 100 tons of marijuana from 1985 through 1988, resulting in more than $100,000,000 in payment being sent to Mexico.
Where is Miguel today?
There have been no rumors or narco manta messages about Miguel. One has to believe that he is back in the family business, but at what capacity that is yet to be determined.
He is still young, and by his appearance in prison photographs sent to BB, he has never looked in better shape. He looks even younger than before prison, and his in much better physical condition. See above left for image of him in Victorville.
Below is a 42 page document, a transcript of the sentencing hearing. It is very detailed and interesting. Starting on page 8 there is an outline of the conditions by which he was imprisoned. And they are bad. He spent over 8 years in isolation. And it goes down from there. He was a model prisoner. BUT before we feel too sorry for him, read what the prosecution says was his accommodations while in Mexico.
He was originally in Englewood Colorado, housed in the SHU then transferred to high security at Florence and finally to Victorville California to a medium security facility. From there he was released.
Finally, below read what he said while addressing the court at sentencing, his family travelled from Mexico to attend the hearing, including his wife and son.
As for remorse, and his promise to never “make a mistake like that again…” well, maybe, maybe not time will tell because at this point it is the guess of anyone.