MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Veteran drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero denied carrying out one of the most notorious murders in Mexico’s narco wars -- the killing of U.S. anti-drugs agent Enrique “Kike” Camarena in 1985 -- and said he was no longer involved in drug trafficking.
Caro Quintero, convicted of ordering Camarena’s torture and murder, was unexpectedly freed from a Mexican prison in 2013 after serving 28 years. The move angered the U.S. government and he then went underground.
He told Mexican magazine Proceso in an interview published on Saturday that he was not behind the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Camarena, but admitted that he was present.
“I didn’t organize, kidnap or kill Mr Camarena...I was in the wrong place,” he said, speaking in an undisclosed location.
The DEA said at the time of his release that it would push for him to be tried in a U.S. court. The United States is currently offering a reward of up to $5 million dollar for information leading to Caro Quintero’s recapture.
Separately, the U.S. Treasury said in May that Caro Quintero was continuing to traffic illegal drugs since being released from a Mexican prison and it named his common-law wife as a key accomplice.
But Caro Quintero, a former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, said he is no longer involved in the drug trade and just wants to be left in peace. He said he was short of money.
“I‘m not a danger to Mexican society or the government or the United States,” he said.
Reporting by Anahi Rama; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Alistair Bell