US v. Caro-Quintero, CR 87-422(F)-ER.

Decision Date14 August 1990
Docket NumberNo. CR 87-422(F)-ER.,CR 87-422(F)-ER.
Citation745 F. Supp. 599
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Rafael CARO-QUINTERO, et al., Defendants.

U.S. Atty., Manuel A. Medrano, John L. Carlton, Asst. U.S. Attys., Los Angeles, Cal., for U.S.

Martin R. Stolar, New York City, for Juan Ramon Matta-Ballesteros.

Edward Medvine, James E. Blancarte, Ronald A. DiNicola, Brian M. Colligan, Mary E. Fulginiti, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, Los Angeles, Cal., for Ruben Zuno-Arce.

Gregory Nicolaysen, Federal Litigators Group, Inc., Beverly Hills, Cal., for Javier Vasquez-Velasco.

Mary E. Kelly, Los Angeles, Cal., Michael S. Meza, Fountain Valley, Cal., for Juan Jose Bernabe-Ramirez.

Robert Steinberg, Beverly Hills, Cal., for Humberto Alvarez-Machain.


RAFEEDIE, District Judge.

Before the Court is a motion filed by defendant Humberto Alvarez-Machain to dismiss for outrageous government conduct and for lack of personal jurisdiction. Defendant argues that he is entitled to such relief because the means by which the United States secured his presence before this Court runs afoul of due process clause of the fifth amendment and international law, and undermines the integrity of the judicial system. For the reasons stated below defendant's motion to dismiss for outrageous government conduct is denied. However, the Court finds that the United States violated the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico when it unilaterally abducted defendant from his homeland. Under these circumstances, the Court lacks jurisdiction to try this defendant. Accordingly, the defendant is ordered discharged and the government is ordered to repatriate the defendant to Mexico forthwith.


Doctor Humberto Alvarez-Machain is a Mexican national charged in connection with the torture/murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique Camarena-Salazar.1 On May 10, 1990, Dr. Machain filed a motion to dismiss for outrageous government conduct and for lack of personal jurisdiction. Dr. Machain argues that the manner in which his physical presence within the jurisdiction of this Court was secured warrants dismissal. The Court has distilled four theories asserted as a basis for relief from the briefs filed by counsel for defendant.2 First, Dr. Machain asserts that he has been deprived of due process of law guaranteed by the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution. A second ground is that dismissal is warranted because his presence in this country was obtained by means which violate the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico. Third, Dr. Machain asserts that dismissal is warranted because his presence in this country was obtained by means which violate the terms of the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Finally, the Court is urged to dismiss the indictment in an exercise of the Court's supervisory power.3


On May 25, 1990, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on this matter. A number of witnesses testified including Dr. Machain, DEA Special Agent Hector Berrellez, chief of "Operation Leyenda" (the DEA investigation of the Camarena murder), and DEA informant Antonio Garate-Bustamante, an admitted former advisor to Mexican drug lord Ernesto Fonseca-Carrillo. From this testimony the Court finds the following facts.

On February 7, 1985, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was kidnapped outside the American consulate in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. One month later, agent Camarena's mutilated body was found about sixty miles outside of Guadalajara along with the body of Alfredo Zavala-Avelar, a Mexican pilot who had assisted Camarena in locating marijuana plantations.

On January 30, 1985, a sixth superseding indictment was returned in this case. This indictment charges twenty-two persons, including Dr. Machain, with crimes in connection with the Camarena and Zavala torture/murders.4 To date, seven of the twenty-two indicted persons have been brought before this Court to stand trial on these offenses. Of the seven, three have been brought before this Court by means of covert forcible abduction from their homelands. Dr. Machain, a doctor of medicine with a specialty in obstetrics and gynecology who practices in Guadalajara, is the third such defendant.5

Prior to the successful abduction of Dr. Machain, the DEA attempted to secure his presence in this jurisdiction through informal negotiations with representatives of the Mexican government.

A. Negotiations with MFJP Commandante Carrillo del Rey

In December, 1989, DEA informant Garate was contacted by Mexican Federal Judicial Police (MFJP) commandante Jorge Castillo del Rey. Castillo sought a meeting with the DEA to discuss the possible exchange of a Mexican national suspected of involvement in the Camarena killing for Isaac Naredo Moreno, who was residing in the United States and wanted by the Attorney General of Mexico in connection with the theft of large sums of money from politicians in Mexico. On December 13, 1989, DEA agent Berrellez and DEA Special Agent Bill Waters met with Castillo and an unidentified MFJP commandante in Los Angeles. Castillo advised the agents that he was working under Javier Orosco-Orosco, the chief of the MFJP fugitive detail in Mexico City. Castillo further advised the agents that he was present at the meeting with the full knowledge and authority of the Attorney General of Mexico. At the meeting, an agreement was struck whereby Dr. Machain would be delivered to the United States, and, upon receipt of Dr. Machain, the United States would determine the immigration status of Moreno and would begin deportation proceedings against Moreno if it were initially determined that he was deportable. The Mexican officials suggested that this arrangement be carried out "under the table" because its revelation would "upset" Mexican citizens. They emphasized that their identities should not be revealed. Castillo indicated that the delivery would be made after the Christmas holiday.

On January 7, 1990, Garate advised Berrellez that the Mexican officials required $50,000 in advance to cover the expense of transporting Dr. Machain to the United States. The agents indicated that the DEA would not front any money for the operation. This was the apparent undoing of the agreement. For several days in January, DEA agents in El Paso waited in vain for the arrival of Dr. Machain. Dr. Machain was not delivered, and the agents returned to Los Angeles.

B. Castillo del Rey's Request for a Second Meeting

On January 25, 1990, Castillo again contacted Garate and requested a second meeting with DEA officials regarding the possible exchange of Dr. Machain for Moreno. He indicated that he would be joined by Pablo Aleman-Diaz, the second highest ranking commandante in the MFJP. Though agent Berrellez initially agreed to the meeting, he later declined in light of the tension between the Mexican government and the United States which resulted from the airing of an NBC mini-series based upon the Camarena murder and ensuing investigation.6 Berrellez testified that he cancelled the meeting because he feared that the meeting was a "set-up" by the Mexicans. No further meetings occurred between the DEA and representatives of the Mexican government.

C. The Abduction

Prior to, during, and after these communications with representatives of the Mexican government, agent Berrellez instructed Garate to convey to Garate's contacts in Mexico that the DEA would pay for information leading to the arrest and capture of individuals responsible for the death of Special Agent Camarena. In March of 1990, Garate told Berrellez that his "associates" in Mexico believed that they could successfully apprehend Dr. Machain and deliver him to custody in the United States. According to Garate, his "associates" include former military police officers, various civilians, and at least two current police officers.

Special Agent Berrellez instructed Garate to tell his associates that the DEA would pay them a $50,000 reward plus expenses if Dr. Machain were delivered to the DEA in the United States. Berrellez testified that he received authorization to make this offer not only from his superiors in the Los Angeles division of the DEA, but also from officials in Washington, D.C., including Pete Gruden, Deputy Director of the DEA. Garate declared that he communicated this offer to his associates. During March, Berrellez had several discussions with Garate regarding the progress of Garate's associates in Mexico.7 Berrellez testified that the abduction and the final terms of the abduction had been approved by the DEA in Washington, D.C., and agent Berrellez believed that the United States Attorney General's Office had also been consulted.

On April 2, 1990, at about 7:45 p.m., Dr. Machain was in his office in Guadalajara, having just finished treating a patient. Five or six armed men burst into his office. One showed Dr. Machain a badge which appeared to be the badge of the federal police. Another man placed a gun to Dr. Machain's head and told him to cooperate or he would be shot.

Dr. Machain was taken to a house in Guadalajara. One of the men hit him in the stomach as he exited the car at their request. In the house, he was forced to lay on the floor face down for two to three hours. Dr. Machain testified that he was shocked six or seven times through the soles of his shoes with a "an electric shock apparatus." He says that he was injected twice with a substance that made him feel "light-headed and dizzy."

Dr. Machain was then transported by car to Leon where they were joined by a "fair-skinned" man. They all boarded a twin engine airplane. Dr. Machain asked the fair-skinned man to identify himself and to indicate where they were going. The man said that he was "with the DEA" and they were going to El Paso. Agent Berrellez testified that no...

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11 cases
  • U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • July 22, 1991
    ...General's request for the State Department's view of the district court's decision in the related case of United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F.Supp. 599 (C.D.Cal.1990). That case is currently the subject of a separate appeal in this We do not find Mr. Williamson's views persuasive. Those v......
  • United States v. Alvarez-Machain
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1992
    ...DEA agents were responsible for respondent's abduction, although they were not personally involved in it. United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F.Supp. 599, 602-604, 609 (CD Cal.1990).2 Respondent moved to dismiss the indictment, claiming that his abduction constituted outrageous governmental......
  • Alvarez-Machain v. United States of America, 99-56762.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • June 3, 2003
    ...v. Alvarez-Machain ("Alvarez-Machain I"), 946 F.2d 1466, 1466-67 (9th Cir. 1991) (per curiam), aff'g United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F. Supp. 599 (C.D. Cal. 1990), but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for trial. See United States v. Alvarez-Machain ("Alvarez-Machain II")......
  • Alvarez-Machain v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • September 11, 2001
    ...United States v. Alvarez-Machain ("Alvarez-Machain I"), 946 F.2d 1466, 1466-67 (9th Cir.1991) (per curiam), aff'g United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F.Supp. 599 (C.D.Cal.1990), but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for trial. See United States v. Alvarez-Machain ("Alvarez-Ma......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Judicial integrity: a call for its re-emergence in the adjudication of criminal cases.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 84 No. 3, September - September - September 1993
    • September 22, 1993
    ...A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment 220-39 (2d ed. 1987). (2) Alvarez-Machain, 112 S. Ct. at 431-32. (3) United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F. Supp. 599 (C.D. Cal. 1990), aff'd sub nom., United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 946 F.2d 1466 (9th Cir. 1991), rev'd, 112 S. Ct. 2188 (1992). In deali......

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