Amado Carrillo Fuentes
|Amado Carrillo Fuentes|
Amado Carrillo Fuentes
|Born||December 17, 1956
Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico
|Died||July 3, 1997 (aged 40)
Mexico City, Mexico
Cause of death
|Failed plastic surgery|
|Other names||El Señor de los Cielos|
|Employer||Head of Juárez Cartel|
|Predecessor||Rafael Aguilar Guajardo|
|Successor||Vicente Carrillo Fuentes|
|Spouse(s)||Candaleria Leyva Cardenas|
|Children||Vicente Carrillo Leyva|
Amado Carrillo Fuentes (December 17, 1956 – July 3, 1997) was a Mexican drug lord who seized control of the Juárez Cartel after assassinating his boss Rafael Aguilar Guajardo. Amado Carrillo became known as "El Señor de Los Cielos" (Lord of the Skies) because of the large fleet of jets he used to transport drugs. He was also known for laundering money via Colombia to finance his huge fleet of planes. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration described Carrillo as one of the most powerful drug traffickers of his era.
He died in a Mexican hospital after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to change his appearance. In his final days Carrillo was being tracked by Mexican and U.S. authorities. He is regarded as one of the wealthiest criminals in history, with an estimated net-worth of US$ 25 billion.[unreliable source?]
Family relations and alliances
Carrillo was born to Vicente Carrillo and Aurora Fuentes in Guamuchilito, Navolato Sinaloa. He was the first of six sons: Amado, Cipriano, Vicente, José Cruz, Alberto, and Rodolfo. He also had five sisters: María Luisa, Berthila, Flor, Alicia and Aurora. These children were the nieces and nephews of Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, a/k/a "Don Neto", the Guadalajara Cartel leader. Amado got his start in the drug business under the tutelage of his uncle Ernesto. Amado later brought in his brothers and eventually his son Vicente José Carrillo Leyva.
Carrillo's father, Vicente Carrillo Vega, died in April 1986; his brother, Cipriano Carrillo Fuentes, died in 1989 under mysterious circumstances.
Carrillo was believed to be a part of the Guadalajara Cartel, sent to Ojinaga, Chihuahua to oversee the cocaine shipments of his uncle, Don Neto, and to learn about border operations from Pablo Acosta Villarreal "El Zorro de Ojinaga" (The Ojinaga Fox).
As the top drug trafficker in Mexico, Carrillo was transporting four times more cocaine to the U.S. than any other trafficker in the world, building a fortune of over US$25 billion. He was called "El Señor de los Cielos" (The Lord of the Skies) for his pioneering use of over 27 private Boeing 727 jet airliners to transport Colombian cocaine to municipal airports and airstrips around Mexico. In the months before his death, Carrillo's business was growing exponentially: his cartel was shipping multi-ton shipments directly into Manhattan, and million dollar payments to Carrillo were seized at the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border. During that time, Carrillo was frequently travelling in his private jets to Cuba, Russia, and other nations in search of a safe haven. He had been hunted by law enforcement since he took over the cartel in April 1993 after the death of Rafael Aguilar Guajardo.
Credited by anti-drug agents as being one of the most low-key, sophisticated, and diplomatic of Mexico's cartel chiefs —he even formed joint operating agreements with rival trafficking groups— Carrillo's growing empire and alleged connection to General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, Mexico's top drug enforcement official, earned him recognition as "the most powerful of Mexico's drug traffickers" by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Death and conspiracy theories
The pressure to capture Carrillo intensified among U.S. and Mexican authorities, and perhaps for this reason, Carrillo underwent facial plastic surgery and liposuction of his abdomen to change his appearance on July 3, 1997 at Santa Mónica Hospital in Mexico City. However, during the nine-hour operation, he apparently died of complications caused either by a medication or a malfunctioning respirator. Two of Carrillo's bodyguards were in the operating room during the procedure.
On November 7, 1997, the bodies of the two physicians who performed the surgery on Fuentes were found dead, encased in concrete inside steel drums, with their bodies showing signs of torture.
Some fringe theories reported in Mexican newspapers hold that Carrillo's bodyguards smothered him with a pillow; or that the PGR tortured him to death first, then faked the plastic surgery; or, as was reported in El Financiero, the corpse was really that of Amado's cousin; or, perhaps the most unusual version, reported by respected radio and TV journalist Pedro Ferriz de Con, was that Carrillo committed suicide, according to an interview where Carrillo allegedly said, "If I die, nobody killed me. The only person who can kill Amado Carrillo is Amado Carrillo."
The DEA confirmed the body belonged to Amado Carrillo four days after his alleged death, using fingerprints positively matched to an old U.S. immigration card. Authorities from the PGR disputed the accuracy of this method, claiming they could not confirm the body as Carrillo's until further toxicological, DNA, and other tests. Finally, on July 11, the PGR announced that the body was that of Carrillo, based on forensic tests including DNA, fingerprints, blood samples, scars, and ear shapes. However, PGR officials were still not sure if the death was caused by homicide or medical malpractice. As of July 22, 2007 officials were still debating whether it was the Dormicum, accidentally or intentionally administered, or the respirator. The PGR began an investigation, beginning with Carrillo's surgeon, Pedro López Saucedo, to determine the degree of responsibility of Santa Mónica Hospital in the drug lord's death.
Juárez Cartel after Carrillo
After Carrillo's death, it was assumed that control of the cartel would fall to Amado's brother Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who was already overseeing operations in Juárez. Two other brothers work for the cartel, but DEA authorities said in-fighting would be unusual among the organization. U.S. DEA chief Thomas Constantine and Mexican drug enforcement agents said they predicted a bloody battle among rival trafficking groups seeking to expand their own turf. They expected the Juárez Cartel's fiercest challenger to be the rival Tijuana Cartel, allegedly led by the Arellano Félix brothers. Other major drug traffickers expected to vie for power included Jesus "Chuy" Amezcua Contreras and Miguel Caro-Quintero.
In July 1997, U.S. and Mexican officials believed Sinaloa native Juan José Esparragoza "El Azul" Moreno would emerge as the leader of the Juárez cartel. Esparragoza is known as a diplomatic trafficker with solid connections to Colombian cocaine suppliers. In the weeks following confirmation of Carrillo's death, five to a dozen drug-related assassinations occurred in Ciudad Juárez. Intelligence officials say key drug traffickers met in heavily secured, back-room bunkers at Juárez strip clubs to sort out business.
On the night of August 3, 1997, at around 9:30 p.m., four drug traffickers walked into a restaurant in Ciudad Juárez, pulled out their guns and opened fire on five diners, killing them instantly. Police estimated that more than 100 bullet casings were found at the crime scene. According to a report issued by Los Angeles Times, four men went to the restaurant carrying at least two AK-47 assault rifles while others stood at the doorstep. On their way out, the gunmen claimed another victim. The victim was Armando Olague, a prison official and off-duty law enforcement officer, who was gunned down outside the restaurant after he had walked from a nearby bar to investigate the shooting. Reportedly, Olague had run into the restaurant from across the street with a gun in his hand to check out the commotion. It was later determined that Olague was also a known lieutenant of the Juarez cartel. Mexican authorities declined to comment on the motives behind the killing, stating the shootout was not linked to the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Nonetheless, it was later stated that the perpetrators were gunmen of the Tijuana Cartel. Although confrontations between narcotraficantes were commonplace in Ciudad Juárez, they rarely occurred in public places. What happened in the restaurant threatened to usher in a new era of border crime in the city.
In Ciudad Juárez, the PGR seized warehouses they believed the cartel used for storage of weapons and cocaine. PGR agents seized over 60 properties all over Mexico belonging to Carrillo, and began an investigation into his dealings with police and government officials. Officials also froze bank accounts amounting to $10 billion belonging to Carrillo. In April 2009, Mexican authorities arrested his son, Vicente Carrillo Leyva.
Carrillo was given a large and expensive funeral in Guamuchilito, Sinaloa. In 2006 Governor Eduardo Bours asked the federal government to tear down Carrillo's mansion in Hermosillo, Sonora. The mansion, dubbed "The Palace of a Thousand and One Nights" still sits unoccupied.
As part of the 2013 nighttime programming, Latin-American channel Telemundo aired the series El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies) with Mexican actor Rafael Amaya playing the starring role of Aurelio Casillas (Amado Carrillo Fuentes).
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- Novela El Senor de los Cielos - Telemundo
- Public Broadcasting, information from the Drug Enforcement Agency
- Drugwar.com - Commentary and Info