A tale of crime and intrigue took a bizarre twist Thursday when Mexican authorities said the late drug baron Amado Carrillo Fuentes was murdered and didn’t die by accident after surgery in July.
But instead of clearing up doubts about the death of one of the world’s most powerful traffickers, the announcement only triggered more questions.
Mexican authorities’ official story is that on Oct. 29 they began investigating three doctors suspected of having given Carrillo a fatal drug dose. On Monday, just five days later, at least two of three doctors’ badly decomposed bodies were found stuffed in metal barrels along a highway leading to the resort city of Acapulco.
“How convenient,” said a high-level U.S. law enforcement official who requested anonymity. “If they thought it was murder, why did they wait so long to open the criminal investigation against the doctors?”
Indeed, many unanswered questions remain, the American official said. Among them:
Did Mexican authorities play a role in Carrillo’s death?
Did authorities begin investigating because they knew the doctors had been killed and they wanted to make it look like they were on the right trail?
And, finally, who ordered Carrillo’s killing?
“I don’t know that we’ll ever know what happened,” the U.S. official said.
Whatever the truth, there’s no telling if ordinary Mexicans will believe it. Most people these days are profoundly suspicious of statements coming from either the government or the ruling party. And few are convinced that Carrillo, dubbed “Lord of the Heavens,” is really dead.
“He’s alive. They’re only trying to make it seem like he’s dead,” said Soledad Hinojosa Cortez, a retired school transport employee in Mexico City. “I think there must have been some deal with high-level authorities.”