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Top Mexican drug lord arrested at the U.S. border

October 29, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Top Mexican drug lord arrested at the U.S. border

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of a leader in the Sonora region who was at one time a member of the Sinaloa Cartel but may have shifted sides.

Although the man has been in U.S. custody for over two weeks, federal officials just revealed his apprehension. It is unclear if or why he turned himself in.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Sajid Emilio “El Cadete” Quintero Navidad was taken into custody on October 11th at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and was promptly brought to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adlers who charged him and unsealed the indictment against him. It is not clear why Quintero’s arrest was revealed two weeks after he appeared in court.

Quintero is the cousin of infamous Mexican drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the leaders responsible for the slaying of U.S. DEA Agent Rafael “Kiki” Camarena. Caro Quintero was serving a long prison sentence in Mexico but was freed before the U.S. was informed.

Sajid Emilio “El Cadete” Quintero Navidad, the cousin of Rafael Caro Quintero, is listed by the U.S. State Department as a top cartel operative in Sonora

The drug lord faces multiple charges linked to Camarena’s killing and his trafficking enterprises.

In 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Navidad as a designated drug trafficker under the s0-called Kingpin Act.

Prosecutors have also described El Cadete as a close partner of top Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. El Cadete is reported to have been operating as a local cartel leader in Cajeme, Sonora, and allegedly turned his back on the Sinaloa Cartel.

Currently, the border states of Sonora and Chihuahua are the subject of a spike in violence as various cells of the Sinaloa Cartel and their rivals battle over territorial control.

Quintero’s arrest occurred months after his ally turned enemy, Damaso “Mini Lic” Lopez Serrano, turned himself into officials at a port of entry in California. Damaso Lopez’ father, Damaso Lopez Nunez, aka “El Licenciado” or “The Attorney,” was on the cusp of gaining control over the Sinaloa Cartel, which sparked a brutal internal war within the criminal organization.

However, Mexican authorities apprehended Lopez before he succeeded.

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