(WTNH) – The process of bringing one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins to the U.S. to face trial is underway. One of the FBI’s most wanted, Rafael Caro Quintero, was one of the founders of Mexican drug trafficking, a cartel leader.
The Mexican cartel business is alive and well here in Connecticut.
On Friday, the Mexican military and a search dog named Max found Quintero hiding in some brush near Mexico’s West Coast. In 1985, Quintero kidnapped and killed a U.S. drug agent. Mexico released him in 2013 and he went back to running a violent drug cartel.
It was just a week ago that the feds busted five people in northern Connecticut, accused of running a drug operation tied to a Mexican cartel. One of the men arrested lived in Enfield and operated out of a home in Suffield, keeping the drugs in chicken coops.
Kenneth Gray is a former FBI agent and professor at the University of New Haven. He worked cases with cartel ties and says they are sophisticated, violent organizations.
“You have the cartels supplying drug hubs. Drug hubs supplying local distributors, and that’s what was arrested here in Connecticut was a local distributor. And then, the local distributors supply the drugs down to the local street level, gangs to drug gangs,” Gray said.
The arrests in Connecticut are tied to a different cartel than Quintero. Gray says they may slow down the Mexican drug trade in Connecticut for a while, but not for long.
“The hubs themselves continue to exist, so there will be other local distributors that will pop up and take over this job. It does have a local impact, but for how long, I don’t know,” Gray said.
Quintero had long been ignored by the Mexican government. The U.S. had a $20 million reward on his head. Just three days before he was captured, Mexican President Andrews Manuel Lopez Obrador met with President Joe Biden at the White House. Fourteen Mexican Marines died in the operation to capture Quintero when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed.