Miguel Caro-Quintero Released From Prison

With a little help from the First Step Act, Mexican drug trafficker Miguel Caro-Quintero, brother of Rafael Caro-Quintero, has finished his 17 year prison sentence and been released, presumably to ICE which will return him to Mexico.

Caro-Quintero did not cooperate. He was scheduled to be released in October, 2019, but under the new First Step Act, which changes the way BOP calculates an inmate's 54 days a year good time, he was entitled to another 7 days per year. (Until now, due to the way it was calculated, 54 days actually translated to 47 days). So his release date moved up from October to July 19.

Contrary to some news reports, Caro Quintero was not released from SuperMax in Florence. He has been serving his sentence since at least 2016 at Victorville, California, a medium security prison. [More...]

Caro Quintero pleaded guilty to two Indictments. The first was brought in Colorado in 1990 and charged a RICO conspiracy (case no 90-cr-130, for those of you with PACER access). The second Indictment was brought in Arizona in 2009 but transferred to Colorado for plea and sentencing. It charged a marijuana conspiracy, which carried a maximum of 5 years (case no. 09-367).

He was extradited from Mexico to Colorado in 2009. The parties' plea agreement provided for concurrent sentences with a total of between 10 and 20 years. If the Judge wanted to give him molre than 20 years, he would have been entitled to withdraw his guilty plea. The Judge approved the agreement. In 2010, Miguel was sentenced to 204 months on the RICO conviction and 60 months on the marijuana conspiracy, to run concurrent with the RICO sentence. In other words, a total of 204 months or 17 years.

Although Miguel had been in custody since his arrest on the extradition warrant in Mexico in 2001, this was a pretty good deal for him, considering he did not cooperate and his guidelines were 324 to 405 months. In imposing the sentence, the Judge wrote on the Judgment Form (Doc. 335 in case no. 90-cr-109):

The Court finds that a variant sentence is warranted, because the offense occurred a long time ago, and arguably may present possible proof problems. Further, the defendant agreed to resolve both the Colorado and Arizona cases. The Court will impose a sentence of 17 years, in effect accounting for the 3-year period of time that the defendant served in the Republic of Mexico on a Mexican conviction. A similarly situated codefendant received the same type
of sentencing reduction for time served on a conviction in the Republic of Mexico.

Meanwhile, Rafael Caro-Quintero remains on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. The FBI believes it was Rafael who gave the order to kidnap a DEA agent in 1985. Rafael served 28 years of a 40 year sentence in Mexico for the offense and was released at the direction of the judiciary (an order rescinded after his release and a ton of b*tching by the DEA).

My take: Enough with the Caro Quinteros. They both did their time. Let them live out their remaining years in peace. As Rafael said in his only post-arrest interview with Proceso Magazine (which I wrote at length about here):

"I'm not a danger to society of Mexico for the Government or for the society of the United States. I don't want to know anything about drug trafficking, I want to live in peace and be at peace, leave me in peace,"said Caro.
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