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Was the CIA involved in the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena?

February 6, 2015
Thirty years ago, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was tortured and murdered at this house by leading members of the Guadalajara Cartel.

Thirty years ago, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was tortured and murdered at this house by leading members of the Guadalajara Cartel.

The modest, salmon-colored building at 881 Lope de Vega street looks much like any other home in Guadalajara’s middle-class Jardines del Bosque neighborhood.

But behind the whitewashed walls, electric fence and barred windows is the house where one of the most infamous crimes in Mexican history took place.

Having just left the U.S. Consulate building on February 7, 1985, DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was on his way to meet his wife for lunch when he was apprehended by corrupt members of Mexico’s federal security agency.

The agents blindfolded Camarena, forced him into their black Grand Marquis and drove him to the safe house on Lope de Vega to be interrogated by the leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel, then Mexico’s dominant drug-trafficking organization.

Camarena’s captors beat him repeatedly, burned his chest with cigarette butts and gunpowder, pulled out his fingernails and violated him with a broom handle. They even brought in a doctor to administer shots to keep him alive long enough to continue the interrogation.

An eyewitness would later testify in a Los Angeles courtroom that the Jalisco state governor and two federal cabinet members were present throughout the interrogation in order to ascertain what Camarena knew about their own links to the cartel.

After 30 hours of torture, Camarena finally died from a crowbar blow to the head. His body was eventually discovered a month later and many of the culprits were subsequently rounded up and convicted after the DEA launched Operation Leyenda, the biggest investigation in its history.

Thirty years on, Camarena’s death remains the source of great debate on both sides of the border. The controversy was reignited last September when Jesús Esquivel, the Washington correspondent for Mexico’s respected Proceso magazine, released a book suggesting that the CIA was directly involved in his abduction, torture and murder.

Largely based on interviews with former DEA supervisor Hector Berrellez, who oversaw Operation Leyenda, the book posits that during the mid-1980s the CIA helped the Guadalajara Cartel smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States in order to fund a dirty war against Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government. In return, the cartel purportedly shipped arms and drug money to the Contras, right-wing rebels who were fighting the Sandinistas.

The CIA has strongly denied any involvement in Camarena’s death but Esquivel believes the DEA agent had uncovered evidence of this unholy alliance shortly before he was murdered…

Click here to read this feature in full at Latin Correspondent.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. P. Ann permalink
    February 7, 2015 15:21

    Es increíble el artículo, sin embargo me llama la atención que gente extranjera se preocupe por la situación de México, continúen informando la verdad. //It’s amazing article, however, noteworthy that foreign people worry about the state of Mexico, continue to report the truth.

  2. February 7, 2015 15:32

    Gracias Ann! Saludos


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