Canon South Africa 550D, Sigma 10-20 lens, F14, ISO 100, 2 sec: Ansteys beach in 5 Star Durban, SA-People – for South Africans in South Africa and expats

Photo: “Hero” – If you had asked me a month ago if I had ever had a hero as a child or young adult, I would have said “no”. But then I would have clearly forgotten about Kiki Camarena, the subject of a 1990 U.S television mini-series starring Treat Williams and Steven Bauer. Drug Wars: The Camarena Story), was an unofficial record of the events that occurred was aired on SA TV and I watched every episode in awe.

Wiki – “Enrique S. “Kiki” Camarena (July 26, 1947 – February 9, 1985) was a Mexican-born American undercover agent for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who was abducted on February 7, 1985, and then tortured and murdered, while on assignment in Mexico.

Camarena’s nickname in Spanish was “Kike”[1] and “Kiki”[2] in English. In 1973, Camarena joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served for two years. He then joined the DEA at their Calexico, California, office. In 1977, Camarena moved to their Fresno office, and in 1981 he was assigned to the agency’s Guadalajara office in Mexico.

Camarena had also worked as a firefighter and police investigator before joining the DEA in Calexico.[2]. In 1984, acting on information from Camarena, 450 Mexican soldiers backed by helicopters destroyed a 1,000-hectare (≈2,500 acres) marijuana plantation with an estimated annual production of $8 billion known as “Rancho Búfalo”.[3][4] Camarena, who had been identified as the source of the leak, was abducted in broad daylight on February 7, 1985 by corrupt police officers working for drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo.

Camarena was tortured at Gallardo’s ranch over a 30-hour period, then murdered. His skull, jaw, nose, cheekbones and windpipe were crushed, his ribs broken, and a hole was drilled into his head with a screwdriver. He had been injected with amphetamines and other drugs, most likely to ensure that he remained conscious during his torture.[5] Camarena’s body was found in a rural area outside the small town of La Angostura in the state of Michoacán on March 5.

Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and after his death, he posthumously received the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization.[2] In Fresno, the DEA hosts a yearly golf tournament named after him. The nationwide annual Red Ribbon Week, which teaches school children and youths to avoid drug use, was established in his memory.[2]. In 2004, the Enrique S. Camarena Foundation[12] was established in Camarena’s memory. Camarena’s wife Mika and son Enrique Jr. serve on the all-volunteer Board of Directors together with former DEA agents, law enforcement personnel, family and friends of Enrique Camarena, and others who share their commitment to alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. Camarena is survived by his wife Mika and their three sons”.


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