Kiki Camarena was a determined DEA Agent. He showed courage and devotion to his career even in the face of its apparent dangers which unfortunately later led to his death. The Mexican born field agent goes about bursting drug lords and drug barons. He was very defiant in their pursuit but he always kept his wife and kids away from harm. Unfortunately, he met his brutal death in the field, at the hands of some drug barons and corrupt government officials he was trying to fight. Let’s find out how he died and what became of his wife and sons.
Who Was Kiki Camarena?
Enrique S. Camarena Salazar, otherwise popularly known as Kiki Camarena, was born on 26th July 1947. He was born in a little town in Mexico called Mexicali. By the time he was nine, his family moved to the United States and settled in a town known as Calexico, in California.
When he was done with high school, Kiki enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. He served from 1973 to 1975. After delisting, he enrolled into Imperial Valley College, where he bagged his associate degree. Because of his passion for humanity, he worked with the fire department even while as a student in the college.
When he was done with his academic pursuit, he signed up for police work and joined the Calexico department. From there, he was transferred to the El Centro department, still in California. It was there that he was assigned to Narcotics Investigations.
He was quite diligent with his work that he was elevated and soon became a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in 1974. He was given the principal assignment of eradicating drug trafficking in the country.
In 1981, he was transferred to the DEA office in Guadalajara, Mexico. He spent about four years there, cordoning operations, gathering tips and information about drug houses and farms, and passing them off to local police and to the DEA.
How Did Kiki Camarena Die?
In 1984, a drug farm that is known as Rancho Buffalo, about a 2500 acre marijuana plantation, worth of more than 8 billion dollars, was destroyed by Mexican soldiers. This was as a result of a tipoff by Kiki to the Mexican Police. This did not go down well with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, the owner of the farm. He managed to find out it was Kiki Camarena that exposed him.
Meanwhile, Kiki was just moments away from busting another top drug syndicate that would have exposed some corrupt government officials and drug lords. The DEA, sensing that his life had been threatened, decided to move him to a secure location. But before he could be moved to safe haven, the corrupt officials gave him away.
On February 7th, 1985, on his way to lunch with his wife, Kiki was abducted in broad daylight and taken to an unknown place. He was tortured for hours. It was said that they used medications to keep him conscious while being tortured. One month later, his body was found in a small town known as LA Angostura. On examination, it was discovered that most of his bones were broken, like his ribs, nose, and jaw. There was also a hole drilled in his skull. He died at the age of thirty-seven.
Immediately, the DEA swung into action and launched Operation Leyenda, to hunt down the culprits. Many people were apprehended. They include Ernesto Fonseca, Rafael Caro Quintero.
Others include Humberto Alvarez Machine, who is believed to be the physician that medically kept Kiki conscious so that the torture could continue, Javier Vasquez Valesco, and Ruben Zuno Ace. But the main suspect, Miguel was not apprehended because he was enjoying political immunity.
The rest were tried and found guilty except the physician, Humberto, who the court couldn’t convict because there was no substantial evidence to implicate him.
Since his death, he has been honoured with several awards some of which are Administrator’s award, the highest given to any DEA agent. Plus, his story has inspired films like Narcos, Narcos: Mexico, and Drug Lords: The Camarena Story the list goes on.
His Wife And Son
The murdered field agent was the husband to Mika Camarena. Their marriage was blessed with three sons – Enrique J. Camarena, Daniel Camarena, and Eric Camarena.
Mika Camarena is a retired skincare consultant. After the untimely demise of her late husband, some of his associates joined forces with her in establishing a foundation in his memory, known as Enrique S. Camarena Education Foundation, in 2004. She is the president of the foundation.
In same 2004, his eldest son, Enrique J. Camarena, became the deputy district attorney, in South Bay. The family has now recovered from their loss, however, Kiki Camarena would forever be in their hearts.