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Mexico Drugs Boss Quintero Freed Over Blunder
US officials have expressed outrage after a Mexican drugs baron who ordered the killing of an American agent was released early from prison.
Caro Quintero was jailed for 40 years over the 1985 kidnapping - but he has walked free after 28 years because of a ruling that he was tried in the wrong kind of court.
The US Department of Justice said it found the decision "deeply troubling".
Mexico's relations with Washington were soured when Quintero, now in his 60s, ordered US Drugs Enforcement Agency agent Enrique Camarena kidnapped, tortured and killed.
The agent was snatched in Guadalajara, a major drug-trafficking centre at the time.
His body and that of his Mexican pilot were found a month later in shallow graves.
Quintero, who was apparently angry at Mr Camarena over a raid he sanctioned on a marijuana plantation, was eventually hunted down in Costa Rica.
His release was ordered after a decision that his trial had improperly taken place in a federal court.
He still faces charges in the US and is believed to have continued controlling the laundering of drug money from behind bars.
The Department of Justice said it continues to seek Quintero's extradition.
The Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents in the US said it was "outraged" and it blamed corruption within Mexico's justice system for the early release.
It said: "The release of this violent butcher is but another example of how good faith efforts by the US to work with the Mexican government can be frustrated by those powerful dark forces that work in the shadows of the Mexican 'justice' system."
Quintero is considered the grandfather of Mexican drug trafficking.
He helped establish a powerful cartel based in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa that later split into some of Mexico's largest cartels, including the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.