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Jailed drug lord insists he didn’t murder DEA agent and says he’s misrepresented in Netflix’s Narcos

A convicted Mexican drug lord portrayed in the Netflix series ‘Narcos: Mexico‘ has claimed he had nothing to do with the 1985 murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena. 

A frail-looking, 75-year-old Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo described himself as ‘an honest man’ and said ‘I’m not aware why they’ve linked me to that crime. I never met that man’ during an interview aired by Noticias Telemundo – the first ever sit down he’s had with any media outlets since his arrest.

Félix Gallardo went on to say that he never met Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo and Rafael Caro Quintero, the two men with whom he partnered in the 1970s to create the Guadalajara Cartel, at the time one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world which in turn set up the path that other drug cartels would follow – including Joaquín ‘El Chapo‘ Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel.

However, it was the investigative work of Camarena that toppled a marijuana plantation in Mexico and sparked a chain of events that eventually led to his assassination and the end of the Guadalajara Cartel, or the Federation as it was also known. 

Camarena died at the age 37, leaving behind a wife and three children, after he was kidnapped in Guadalajara on February 7, 1985. The tortured bodies of Camarena and Alfredo Zavala Avelar, a Mexican pilot who was employed by the DEA, were found the following month. 

Fonseca Carrillo and Caro Quintero, who was prematurely released from jail and is now wanted by authorities on both sides of the border, were the first to go down for the murders while Félix Gallardo somehow managed to avoid capture. Félix Gallardo was arrested in April 1989 and was sentenced to 32 years in a Mexican jail for Camarena’s assassination. 

In 2017, a Mexico federal court handed down a 37-year sentence for Camarena’s and Zavala Avelar’s murders. The court also ordered Félix Gallardo to pay $1.18 million in damages. 

Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo told Noticias Telemundo that he never met DEA agent Kiki Camarena and that he was not responsible for his 1985 murder

The investigation led by Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena led to the eventual demise of the Guadalajara Cartel, but not before he was kidnapped, tortured and killed by the criminal organization in 1985

The investigation led by Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena led to the eventual demise of the Guadalajara Cartel, but not before he was kidnapped, tortured and killed by the criminal organization in 1985

Despite the mounting evidence, Félix Gallardo – nicknamed ‘El Jefe de los Jefes,’ or ‘Boss of Bosses’ – told Noticias Telemundo he did not have a clue as to why he authorities connected him to the murders that tested the relationship between the governments of the United States and Mexico. 

‘It is a very sad subject. This Mr. Camarena, whoever they were, whoever did it, the perpetrators and masterminds are behind bars; they’ve paid with their lives in prison, and they’ve had a very rough time,’ Félix Gallardo said. ‘I’m not aware why they’ve linked me to that crime. I never met that man. Let me reiterate: I’m not into weapons. I’m really sorry because I know he was a good man.’ 

When asked by the reporter if he had anything to say to agent Camarena’s widow, Mika Camarena, ‘El Padrino’ or ‘The Godfather,’ as Félix Gallardo was also know, responded: ‘That I wish her comfort. She should feel relieved that the culprits are serving time.’ 

Félix Gallardo also shied away from his old business partners, Fonseca Carrillo, who served a 40-year prison term, and Caro Quintero, who was prematurely released from jail and is now wanted by authorities on both sides of the border. 

‘I don’t know them,’ he said. ‘We did not meet on the street. These people and I have never chatted.’ 

Félix Gallardo, a former police office, slammed the ‘Narcos: Mexico’ for wrongly portraying him. ‘Miguel Félix Gallardo is an honest man.’ 

Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo told Noticias Telemundo in an interview that aired last Wednesday that he has no hope of ever getting out of prison. But on Friday, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that prosecutors would be closely looking into his case to see he can pardon him under a proposed bill that would free thousands of prisoners

Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo told Noticias Telemundo in an interview that aired last Wednesday that he has no hope of ever getting out of prison. But on Friday, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that prosecutors would be closely looking into his case to see he can pardon him under a proposed bill that would free thousands of prisoners

U.S. military personnel carry the coffin containing the body of DEA agent Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena following his 1985 murder

U.S. military personnel carry the coffin containing the body of DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena following his 1985 murder 

In the interview with Noticias Telemundo, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo said he had spoken to or met Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the two men he co-founded the Guadalajara Cartel with

In the interview with Noticias Telemundo, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo said he had spoken to or met Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the two men he co-founded the Guadalajara Cartel with

Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo was one of the Guadalajara Cartel's three founders

Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo was one of the Guadalajara Cartel’s three founders

The jailed kingpin distanced himself from any dealings with his Colombian counterpart, Pablo Escobar, which are highlighted in the hit series.

‘I never met that person. He, that person you’re mentioning, I was never in Medellín or Cali, as the series says. I never met him. Later on, he was killed while I was in prison,’ Félix Gallardo. ‘There doesn’t exist a czar, there’s never existed such thing. Cartels have never existed in Guadalajara. I don’t know if that’s changed now. That never happened. In other words, we led a family life. I used to take my children to school. 

Now at the age of 75, he appears to be a mere shell of the man who was one the world’s most feared drug cartel leaders and now has ‘half my body paralyzed.’

Félix Gallardo lost vision in his right eye, is deaf in his left ear, and had surgery to remove eight hernias. And add the left arm that is covered by a cast and supported by a sling due to a fall he suffered last month.

He holds no regrets about his past because he believes he was wrongly convicted.

‘Since I haven’t made a mistake, I have nothing to repent. I did not participate in such an act [Camarena’s murder],’ Félix Gallardo said.  

Netflix's hit series 'Narcos: Mexico' zeroes in on the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel. Mexican actor Diego Luna (pictured) plays the role of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo

Netflix’s hit series ‘Narcos: Mexico’ zeroes in on the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel. Mexican actor Diego Luna (pictured) plays the role of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo

Mexican-American actor Michael Peña interprets the role of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 'Narcos: Mexico'

Mexican-American actor Michael Peña interprets the role of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In 2019, a Mexico City judge rejected a request to serve the rest of his prison term under house arrest. Today, he’s pretty much resigned to the fact that he may die in prison, but he may have still have chance at an early exit if Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. 

López Obrador, who in the interview was described by Félix Gallardo as ‘a man of goodwill’ who ‘is fighting social inequality,’ told reporters Friday that prosecutors will review his case and pardon him under a proposed bill that would free thousands of prisoners.

‘I also want him to understand my situation, that I do not want anyone to suffer,’ he said. ‘I do not want anyone to be in jail. I am a humanist.’


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