MEXICO CITY (AP) — A drug lord convicted in the 1985 killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has been ordered freed by a Mexican appeals court, authorities said Friday.
Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo was released from prison and placed under house arrest in 2016 due to poor health and age. He is believed to be 86 or 87.
At his home, Fonseca was required to wear an electronic bracelet and have four guards posted around the clock. The new ruling apparently would apparently let the man known as "Don Neto" leave the house. He has nearly nine years remaining on his 40-year sentence.
The federal judiciary council released a copy of the appeals court ruling, which said he should be granted a form of early release that is usually given to prisoners who have completed most of their sentences.
Fonseca, the co-founder of the Guadalajara Cartel, was convicted in the kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena.
Fonseca Carrillo moved a step closer to fulfilling the conditions for early release in January, when a judge set the amount of reparations he would have to pay to the family of Camarena and a pilot kidnapped and killed in the same incident.
The Attorney General's Office did not immediately respond to the ruling, or say whether it would appeal it.
Nor did the U.S. embassy immediately respond to the ruling, which marks yet another setback in what was once depicted as an overwhelming effort to punish Camarena's killers.
Another co-founder of the Guadalajara Cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero, was released from prison in 2013 after an appeals court overturned his own conviction in Camarena's killing on jurisdictional grounds.
Mexico's Supreme Court annulled that ruling three months later and a warrant was issued for Caro Quintero to be rearrested, but he remains at large. The U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his recapture.