Amado Carrillo Fuentes

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Amado Carrillo
Amado Carrillo Fuentes.jpg
Born(1956-12-17)December 17, 1956
Guamuchilito, Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico
DiedJuly 7, 1997(1997-07-07) (aged 40)
Mexico City, Mexico
Other namesEl Señor de los Cielos
OccupationDrug lord
EmployerHead of Juárez Cartel
Known forDrug trafficking and weapons
PredecessorRafael Aguilar Guajardo
SuccessorVicente Carrillo Fuentes
ChildrenVicente Carrillo Leyva

Amado Carrillo Fuentes (/fuˈɛntəs/; December 17, 1956 – July 7, 1997) was a Mexican drug lord who seized control of the Juárez Cartel after assassinating his boss Rafael Aguilar Guajardo.[1][2] Amado Carrillo became known as "El Señor de Los Cielos" ("The 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 this fleet.

He died in July 1997, in a Mexican hospital, after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to change his appearance.[3][4][5] In his final days, Carrillo was being tracked by Mexican and U.S. authorities.

Early life[edit]

Carrillo was born to Walter Vicente Carrillo Vega and Aurora Fuentes in Guamuchilito, Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico. He had eleven siblings.

Carrillo was the nephew of Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, also known as "Don Neto", the Guadalajara Cartel leader. Amado got his start in the drug business under the tutelage of his uncle Ernesto and later brought in his brothers, and eventually his son Vicente José Carrillo Leyva.

Carrillo's father died in April 1986. Carrillo's brother, Cipriano Carrillo Fuentes, died in 1989 under mysterious circumstances.[6]


Initially, Carrillo was part of the Guadalajara Cartel, sent to Ojinaga, Chihuahua to oversee the cocaine shipments of his uncle, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo ("Don Neto"), and to learn about border operations from Pablo Acosta Villarreal ("El Zorro de Ojinaga"; "The Ojinaga Fox") and Rafael Aguilar Guajardo. Later, Carrillo worked with Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel smuggling drugs from Colombia to Mexico and the United States. He also worked with "El Chapo" (Joaquin Guzman Loera), the Arellano Felix family, and the Beltran Leyva organization.[7][8]

During his tenure, Carrillo reportedly built a multibillion-dollar drug empire. It was estimated that he may have made over $25 billion in revenue over the course of his career.[9]


The pressure to capture Carrillo intensified among U.S. and Mexican authorities after people in Morelos state began silent marches against governor Jorge Carrillo Olea and his presumed complacency with drug-related violence. Carrillo Fuentes owned a house three blocks from the governor's official residence and regularly held narco-fiestas in the municipality of Tetecala.[10] Governor Carrillo Olea was forced to resign and was arrested; this type of pressure may have convinced Carrillo Fuentes to undergo facial plastic surgery and abdominal surgery liposuction to change his appearance on July 4, 1997, at Santa Mónica Hospital in Mexico City. However, during the operation, he died of complications apparently caused either by a certain medication or a malfunctioning respirator (there is very little paperwork regarding his death).

Two of Carrillo Fuentes's bodyguards were in the operating room during the procedure. On November 7, 1997, the two surgeons who performed Carrillo's surgery were found dead, encased in concrete inside steel drums, with their bodies showing signs of torture.[11]

Juárez Cartel after Carrillo[edit]

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.[12] Police estimated that more than 100 bullet casings were found at the crime scene. According to a report issued by the Los Angeles Times, four men went to the restaurant carrying at least two AK-47 automatic rifles while others stood at the doorstep.[12][13]

On their way out, the gunmen claimed another victim,[14] 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.[14]

Mexican authorities declined to comment on the motives behind the killing, stating the shootout was not linked to Carrillo's death. Nonetheless, it was later stated that the perpetrators were gunmen of the Tijuana Cartel.[12][15]

Although confrontations between narcotraficantes were common 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.[14]

In Ciudad Juárez, the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General (PGR) seized warehouses that they believed the cartel used to store weapons and cocaine. They also 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.[16] In April 2009, Mexican authorities arrested Carillo's son, Vicente Carrillo Leyva.[17]


Carrillo was given a large and lavish, expensive funeral in Guamuchilito, Sinaloa. In 2006, Governor Eduardo Bours asked the federal government to tear down Carrillo's mansion in Hermosillo, Sonora.[18]

Media portrayals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Getty, Mark (February 2004). "Mexico's Forgotten Disappeared: The Victims of the Border Narco Bloodbath". Frontera NorteSur. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
  2. ^ González, Héctor A. (February 21, 2007). "Los prófugos del salinato". El Diario (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
  3. ^ Dillon, Sam (November 7, 1997). "Drug Barons and Plastic Surgeons: Who's Dead, Who's Hiding?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  4. ^ Poppas, Terrence E. "Cast of Characters: Amado Carrillo Fuentes". Drug Lord. Archived from the original on 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  5. ^ "DEA Map of Juarez Cartel operations". Frontline. PBS. February 1997. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  6. ^ Aguilar, Rubén (16 December 2014). "Los hermanos Carrillo Fuentes". Animal Político (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 17 November 2016.
  7. ^ Poppa, Terrance (2009). "Amado Carrillo Fuentes". Archived from the original on 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  8. ^ DEA Congressional Testimony, August 8, 1995 Archived May 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Moore, Molly (July 12, 1997). "Drug lord goes home in coffin". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ "Graco revira a Carrillo Olea: él incubó al narco" [Graco turns to Carrillo Olea: he incubated the narco] (in Spanish). Proceso. May 14, 2017. Retrieved Feb 20, 2019.
  11. ^ Moore, Molly (7 November 1997). "Top Mexican Surgeons Found Entombed in Concrete Drums". The Tech. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Times Wire Services (5 August 1997). "Gunmen Kill 6 People at Ciudad Juarez Restaurant". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  13. ^ 2 September 1997. "More gunfire in Ciudad Juarez leaves at least three dead in bar". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Sharp, John (July 1998). "Crime: Line of Fire" (PDF). Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Serían los Arellano responsables de las seis ejecuciones en Ciudad Juárez". La Jornada (in Spanish). 6 August 1997. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  16. ^ Phil Gunson (July 17, 1997). "This is the face of Amado Carrillo Fuentes". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  17. ^ Mexico catches drug baron as U.S. tightens border Reuters, April 2, 2009.
  18. ^ Marizc, Michel (April 4, 2006). "Narco-Power". Border Reporter.
  19. ^ Infante, Victoria (6 July 2012). "Rafael Amaya está listo para ser el 'Señor de los Cielos'". The Huffington Post (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2013.

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