Kiki Camarena, DEA does not pay me, I already requested the transfer

On February 7, 1985, a couple of weeks before he was transferred, the special agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency of United States (DEA), Enrique Camarena, was kidnapped by assassins of the Guadalajara Cartel. They took him to a building at 881 Lope de Vega Street, tortured him, interrogated him, and finally murdered him on February 9. Camarena, who had been following in the footsteps of cartel leaders for nearly a year, particularly Rafael Caro Quinterorevealed some details and names that were part of his assignment derived from the beating to which he was subjected.

Two hours of the interrogation were recorded and, after the investigation, they reached the hands of Mexican and US authorities. Now, the cassettes are part of the evidence with which the United States Attorney’s Office seeks to charge the capo in case he is extradited from the US, and who, if found guilty, could spend the rest of his life in a maximum prison. security.

The interrogation was developed around concerns on the part of the leadership ofThe Guadalajara Cartel because the DEA would have found sensitive information related to real estate and business related to the 3 top leaders of the organization: Rafael Caro Quintero, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonsecawho were in the meeting with other people, such as Sergio Espino Verdin, a commander of the DFS who worked with the cartel.

These are some excerpts from the transcript of the two cassettes, lasting two hours in total, held by the prosecutor’s office USAwhich MILLENNIUM had access, in which Camarena, who in addition to his wife had 3 children, is heard begging the person conducting the interrogation to leave his loved ones alone.


Camarena: Even if I didn’t want to, I start to remember things after the beating they gave me, and while I remember I’ll tell everything I know (…)

Chambermaid: Well, don’t hurt my family, please…

Interrogator: No one is going to hurt your family…forget about it. They are not guilty of anything. You just keep remembering, huh. I’m not gonna hit you or anything, okay?

However, the promises not to hurt anyone did not include the special agent, who admitted that he had informants within the cartel who had provided him with information. According to the details of the transcript, the voice of Camarena it was fading and becoming weaker as the interrogation progressed, and the beating. During several pauses that are read, the US prosecutors determined that the drug traffickers took advantage to torture the agent.

C: Please don’t hit me anymore.

I: No, no one is going to hit you.


I: You are nervous, but forget that. I’m being good to you, okay?

C: I am very grateful to you.

One of the Cartel’s concerns was confirmed: Camarena had discovered one of the operators who was directing the trafficking operations of marijuana since Mexicali, Baja Californiatowards Calexico, California, in the United States.

C: In Mexicali, they say you have a person, correct? That helps you pass the marijuana.

I: Who is it?

C: I try to remember, but no…

I: Yes, remember, I give you your time.

C: René Verdugo, I think… I try…

I: Try, you try…


I: What do you say it’s called?

C: Manuel Sanchez.

However, Camarena insisted that the only thing he had achieved about Dear Quintero, They were clues that his 3 informants had given him, Jesús Álvarez, Jesús Ramírez and lawyer Cesario Garciabueno. With this information, he had discovered that Ernesto Fonseca owned at least two restaurants, a hotel, and a house with an antenna that could be seen from the outside. On the other hand, that Rafael Caro Quintero he had bought a Ford dealership and owned a white jet with brown stripes. And that Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo dispatched from offices in guadalajara, in addition to having a house with horses, and at least 4 other houses in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.

C: If I had something about Rafael (Caro) I would tell him, it’s not worth lying to him. Because they would review it or something, and it would be a lie. And they would give me another beating, right? I want you to understand that I don’t want to lie to you. I do not want to invent something that is not true.


I: Tell me the names of those who hang out with Caro.

C: I don’t know any, Commander.

I: And I’m going to stop…

C: If I knew I would tell you sir. I tell him I’m afraid, I’m telling him.

The cartel had no doubts, they wanted to identify those who had betrayed them, to get rid of them.

I: Don’t tell me your problems, tell me about the information you can give me to end this bunch of idiots.

C: Yes sir, what else can I tell you?

I: Since when did you know about this Mr. Javier Barba?

C: The person who mentioned it to me was Mr. García Bueno.

With Kiki Camarena They used the strategy of the good policeman and the policeman, except that in his case the interrogation was conducted by hit men from the Guadalajara Cartel and the agent’s hands were tied.

I: Look, behave yourself and we’ll let you go home.

C: Yes, but man, please.


C: With the beating they’ve given me, do you think I’d lie to you?

Camarena revealed that in recent months he had not had much progress in his investigation, and that even the directors of the DEA were dissatisfied with the development of the case against the Guadalajara cartel.

C: Lately we haven’t had any information, you won’t believe me, but there isn’t. I tell you that they have scolded us in Washington because according to them we are not working here.

I: Oh.

C: And as I was saying, who is going to do the job if they have someone unarmed?

I: Yes, you don’t have permission?

C: what?

I: You don’t have permission?

C: No one is allowed, I told him, to have weapons.


I: And you haven’t conducted any research at this time?

C: No, as I was saying, I was asking for a transfer because things were getting tough here.

I: So you’re not doing anything right now…

C: No, well, as I was saying, I was getting ready to leave… on February 25 they were going to come to my house to pack my things.

They even suspected that Camarena might be investigating one of the cartel’s rising stars, J.Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, The bluea former agent of the Federal Security Directorate who participated in the founding of the Guadalajara Cartelas well as of the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels. The elusive drug trafficker has never been arrested, and to date it is unknown what became of him. During that part of the interrogation, the situation became more violent, Camarena begged for medical attention and complained about his injuries.

I: For example, this Juan Esparragoza.

C: I don’t know anything about him

I: What do you know about him?

C: That he only had a house near the consulate, about three blocks away, but they didn’t find him. The street or the address. Ouch, ouch, ouch.


I: And about Manuel Salcido?

C: Eh, I don’t know, the only thing I know about the man is that his brother Sergio has a nightclub on the way out… by Vallarta… in front of Tío.

I: What disco?

C: I don’t remember the name, it’s on the left side.

I: For Vallarta.

C: Yes, Vallarta Avenue, ah…

I: Whose is it?

C: Ouch, what?

I: Whose is it?

C: From Sergio, Manuel’s brother… oh, ah, could I ask you to sell my ribs, please?

I: Let’s see, I’ve treated you well, haven’t I? Now let’s see, you’re going to speak well to me.

C: Well, I think that’s all sir.

I: Everything?

C: Yes, I think.

I: Uhm, which ones did you tell me about?

C: Look, I told you about Cuauhtémoc’s.

Q: Yes.

C: You know which one I’m talking about, right?

I: Yes, I know, you’ve said it many times.

C: Well, yes, they are the ones you asked me about. The house in Pablo Neruda, Rubén Dario, oh, oh, sorry, oh…

I: I’m not going. Beat.

C: No… it’s just that they’re giving me stabbing pains.

Camarena assured that the investigations against the Cartel were focused on Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo So the agents of the DEA who worked in Guadalajara, who were 5 at the time, already feared for their lives. Two of those agents were dedicated to flying over the region to identify marijuana plantations. Despite everything, Camarena explained that things were not going well with his bosses.

I: So, if they had located the others, why didn’t they report it?

C: To whom?

YO: Ernesto Fonseca and Rafael Caro.

C: That there aren’t (…) I didn’t report them, sir, for the same reason… I don’t want any problems… I just wanted to get out of here.


I: What is your job then, as I said?

C: Well, intelligence… answer phones when asked.

I: They are giving you money, right?

C: No sir, no sir… as I was explaining to the commander… the DEA did not deposit my check… and my checks were being bounced… my salary.

I: Give me a good location of Rafael.

C: I don’t have it, please! What can I say if I don’t have one?

I: Of Ernesto?

C: Well, Ernesto… those houses, but where is it, no, no, no… what I mean is that we don’t go out to look for them because it’s very dangerous.

I: And you don’t have more or less information about where they are?

C: No sir, I have information on the houses, but where they are, no.

I: How is it possible that they have been lost?

C: I don’t understand sir.

I: How many people do you say there are with them?

C: Here we are four and one…

I: No, with them.

C: With Ernesto?

Q: Yes.

C: Well, Chuy Álvarez says that he has several armed men, right?

I: How many?

C: Like 20 or 30

I: And Raphael?

C: Rafael is 50, 70 more or less.

I: And do you think that would not be obvious?

Camarena was killed after the interrogation, as was the pilot and fellow US federal agent Alfredo Zavala.

According to the forensic analysis of his body, Camarena was beaten repeatedly and violently in the head and face with a blunt instrument. She had her cheekbones fractured in three and had multiple fractures to the top and bottom of her skull which were even pierced with a metal tube. She ultimately died from a direct blow to the head. Pilot Zavala received a similar beating, he had skull fractures and a broken arm. His bodies were buried a first time and then exhumed, to finally be found in a grave in Zamora, Michoacán.


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