Mexico gives drug lord Vicente Carrillo Fuentes 28 years

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A judge in Mexico has sentenced drug lord Vicente Carrillo Fuentes to 28 years in prison for organized crime, money laundering and weapons violations, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Carillo Fuentes was a former leader of the Juarez drug cartel, based in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas. He is the brother of drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known as “The Lord of The Skies,” who died in a botched plastic surgery in 1997.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, 58, took over the cartel that year and was arrested in 2014. Known by his nickname “The Viceroy,” he continued his brother’s business of smuggling drugs over the border, prosecutors said.

In 2018, local media reported he was among inmates who signed a letter complaining about increases in the price of snack foods at a prison commissary.

Also Tuesday, the Mexican government announced it will release 682 inmates on trial or serving sentences for non-violent crimes because they are over 70, are terminally ill, were victims of torture or belong to an Indigenous group. The government published a decree in August allowing such releases, and over 4,000 cases are being reviewed.

A separate measure, an April 2020 amnesty law, offered to release Indigenous people who hadn’t received a proper defense, poor people convicted of non-violent drug offenses, and those pressured into committing crimes by drug cartels. But only five people had been released one year later, out of 1,000 requests.