The doctor Humberto Álvarez Machain continues to be targeted by the US government for allegedly participating in the crime of the anti-narcotics officer Enrique Camarena 35 years ago. But this man who owns a humble taqueria in Guadalajara insists that he is innocent.
In late 1992, in a US federal court, Mexican gynecologist Humberto Álvarez Machain bowed his head and began to cry after a judge concluded that the prosecution lacked evidence to charge him for the torture and death of the agent for the Drug Control (DEA), Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena, in Mexico in 1985.
Álvarez Machain was accused of injecting drugs to Camarena to spread his horrible agony. It was the revenge of the Guadalajara Cartel, which eventually became the Sinaloa Cartel, because the anti-narcotics officer infiltrated that criminal organization, which led to the dismantling of an immense marijuana plantation at the ranch ‘The Buffalo’, in the state of Chihuahua.
The US justice dismissed the case against Álvarez Machain and confirmed that there were serious violations of due process in the process. It was alleged that a group of Mexican police officers kidnapped the doctor on orders from the DEA and took him to Texas to speed up his judicial process. Two years he was in custody.
“There is no evidence that (Álvarez Machain) has participated in the conspiracy to kidnap agent Camarena or that he even knew it,” Edward Rafeedie said in acquitting the Mexican doctor, the Los Angeles Times reported 28 years ago.
But the DEA still believes that this gynecologist was directly involved in the murder of one of his own and has not ceased to track him in Mexico. An anti-narcotics agent took the journalist Lara Logan, host of the Fox Nation series ‘Lara Logan Has No Agenda’, to the business that the doctor has in Guadalajara: a taco stand with a metal roof and a few chairs.
They were received by Álvarez Machain himself, now an overweight old man who never returned to practice medicine. In a brief talk he insisted that nothing had to do with the homicide of Camarena, the first American agent to lose his life at the hands of organized crime in that country.
“You were involved in the death of ‘Kiki’?” Logan asked outside the taqueria.
“Absolutely not,” the doctor responded immediately. “Since I left the United States prison I have been here in this little business and here I am still … I am very proud to have left a federal court in the United States,” he added.
The officer who took Logan to the Álvarez Machain taqueria was angry at the place, convinced that the doctor should be serving a long sentence in a US prison. “There is no justice for anyone here. You are lucky if you get justice for someone, ”he reproached.
Although this doctor acknowledged to the US authorities almost three decades ago that he was in the house while the DEA agent was brutally tortured, he denied that he administered drugs. Camarena’s case was taken up again in Netflix’s ‘Narcos México’ series. In one of the chapters a doctor appears who coldly injects a substance into his heart. The scene was real, the DEA insists.
His acquittal in 1992 meant a severe setback in one of the most emblematic cases of the fight against Mexican drug trafficking. The criminal process is still open in a US court.
This crime unleashed a hunt in the 1980s against the leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel, who were designated as their intellectual authors. This is Rafael Caro Quintero, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo. The first tops the list of drug traffickers most wanted by the DEA and offered a reward of 20 million dollars for information leading to his capture.
Alias ’El narco de narcos’ has also denied ordering Camarena’s murder. He spent almost three decades in a maximum-security prison in Mexico and in 2013 he was released for judgments in his judicial process. Since then he lives fleeing from the authorities.
Last October, announcing that eight Caro Quintero properties had been blacklisted by the US government, federal prosecutor Richard P. Donoghue warned that the capo had already reached the time to choose between two options: “a prison American or a Mexican grave. ”
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