Security & Strategic Review - September 2022

MEXICO: The consequences of Caro Quintero’s arrest

The capture of veteran drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero on 15 July made headlines around the world. The founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara drug trafficking organisation (DTO) is likely the most high-profile drug trafficker to be arrested under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The capture also carries huge significance for the US government, given Caro Quintero’s suspected involvement in the murder of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in 1985. However, while the arrest was cause for celebration in both countries, it could end up wielding a negative impact in terms of US-Mexico relations and spark a rise in violence in Mexico as other criminal actors capitalise on the disruption.

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