Case Study Analysis: The Enrique Camarena Case

Read “The Enrique Camarena Case – A Forensic Nightmare.”

Please address the following in detail:
Catalog the forensic evidence found in the Camarena Case.Summarize the steps followed by the crime scene
investigators including the mistakes and/or correct steps followed to
process the scene through the criminal justice system.Assess what could have been done better or what
could have been improved upon during the forensic investigation of the
crime scene.
The paper must be at least four to six pages in length
and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing
Center. You must refer to at least one secondary resource. Cite your
resources in text as well as on the Reference page. For information
regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center,
located within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation
toolbar.If you have issues viewing or accessing this file, please contact us at
Law Enforcement Bulletin
September 1989
The Enrique Camarena Case
.. 4″”””
Also In This Issue:
Operational Streamlining
The Computer Criminal
Operation Freezer Burn
Traffic Stops
September 1989, Volume 58, Number 9
The Enrique Camarena CaseA Forensic Nightmare
I 2/.5..3
By Michael P. Malone
Operational Streamlining
By Hillary M. Robinette
Operation Freezer Burn
By P.R. Beseler
2-/ S3~
The Computer Criminal:
An Investigative Assessment
By Larry Coutourie
Traffic StopS:
Police Powers Under the Fourth Amendment
By John Gales Sauls
12 The Bulletin Reports
23 Book Review
2- /
S .’5
U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Justice
This document has been reproduced exactly as received from the
pers~n or organization originating it. Points of view or opinions stated
In this document. ~re tho.~e of the authors and do not necessarily
repr~sent the official PO~ltlon or policies of the National Institute of
32 VICAP Alert
to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS).
~urther reproduction outside of the NCJRS system requires permis-
sion of the ~owner.
Law Enforcement Bulletin
United States Department of Justice Published by the Office of Public Affairs,
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Milt Ahlerich, Assistant Director
Washington, DC 20535
Editor-Stephen D. Gladis
Managing Editor-Kathryn E. Sulewski
Art Director-John E. Ott
The Attorney General has determined that the
Assistant Editor-Alice S. Cole
publication of this periodical is necessary in the
transaction of the public business required by law Production Manager-Joseph Andrew DiRosa
William S. Sessions, Director
of the Department of Justice. Use of funds for
printing this periodical has been approved by the
Director of :he Office of Management and
ISSN 0014-5688
The Cover: The abduction and
subsequent murder of DEA Special Agent
Enrique Camarena initiated one of the
most extensive forensic investigations ever
conducted by the FBI Laboratory. See
article p. 1.
The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
(ISSN-0014-5688) is published monthly by
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 10th
and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington,
DC 20535. Second-Class postage paid at
Washington, DC. Postmaster: Send
address changes to Federal Bureau of
Investigation, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Washington, DC 20535.
USPS 383-310
I 2.1 S 3…J
The Enrique Camarena Case
A Forensic Nightmare


Special Agent
Laboratory Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC



‘~ ‘~” ~””. ~~
_ _ _ _ _ _ September 1989 I 1
n February 7, 1985, U.S.
Agency (DEA) Special
Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena
was abducted near the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. A
short time later, Capt. Alfredo
Zavala, a DEA source, was also
abducted from a car near the
Guadalajara Airport. These two
abductions would trigger a series
of events leading to one of the
largest investigations ever conducted by the DEA and would
result in one of the most extensive
cases ever received by the FBI
Throughout this lengthy investigation, unusual forensic problems arose that required unusual
solutions. Eventually, numerous
suspects were arrested, both in the
United States and Mexico, which
culminated in an 8-week trial held
in U. S. District Court in Los
Angeles, CA.
On this day, a witness observed a ranches throughout Mexico proved
man being forced into the rear seat fruitless, despite the efforts of the
of a light-colored, compact car in DEA task force assigned to invesfront of the Camelot Restaurant tigate this matter and the tremenand provided descriptions of sev- dous pressure being applied by the
eral of the assailants. After some U.S. Government to accelerate the
initial reluctance, Primer Coman- investigation. High-level,. U.S.
dante Pavon-Reyes of the Mexican Government officials, as well as
Federal Judicial Police (MFJP) their Mexican counterparts, were
was put in charge of the investiga- becoming directly involved in the
tion, and Mexican investigators case. It is believed that because of
were assigned to the case. Two this “heat,” the Mexican drug
known drug traffickers, Rafael traffickers and certain Mexican
Caro-Quintero and Ernesto Fon- law enforcement officials fabseca, were quickly developed as ricated a plan. According to the
suspects. A short time later at the plan, the MFJP would receive an
Guadalajara Airport, as· Caro- anonymous letter indicating that
Quintero and his men attempted to SA Camarena. and Captain Zavala
flee by private jet, a confrontation were being held at the Bravo drug
developed between Caro-Quin- gang’s ranch in La Angostura,
tero’s men, the MFJP and DEA Michoacan, approximately 60
Agents. After some discussion, miles southeast of Guadalaj ara.
Caro-Quintero and his’ men were The MFJP was supposed to raid
permitted to board and leave. It the ranc~, eliminate the drug gang
was later learned that a 6-figure and eventually discover the bodies
bribe had been paid to Pavon- of SA Camarena and Captain
Zavala buried on the ranch. The
Reyes to allow this departure.
The Abduction
DEA would then be notified and
On February 7, 1985, SA The Investigation
the case would be closed. Thus,
During February 1985, the Bravo gang would provide an
Camarena left the DEA Resident
Office to meet his wife for lunch. searches of several residences and easy scapegoat.
During early March, MFJP
officers raided the Bravo ranch
before the DEA Agents alTived. In
the resulting shootout, all of the
gang members, as well as one
MFJP officer, were killed. HowThrQughout this lengthy
ever, due to a mix-up, the bodies
investigation, unusual
of SA Camarena and Captain
forensic problems
Zavala were not buried on the
arose that required
Bravo ranch in time to be discovered
as planned. The individunusual solutions.
uals paid to do this job simply left
them by the side of a road near the
ranch. It was later learned that certain Mexican law enforcement
officials were paid a large sum of
Special Agent Malone
money to formulat~ and carryout
this plan in order to obstruct and
prematurely conclude the investigation.

2 i FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

Shortly after this shootout, a
passer-by found two partially
decomposed bodies, wrapped in
plastic bags, along a road near the
Bravo ranch. The bodies were
removed and transported to a local
morgue where they were autopsied. The DEA was then advised
of the discovery of the bodies and
their subsequent removal to another morgue in Guadalajara,
where a second autopsy was performed.
On March 7, 1985, the FBI
dispatched a forensic team to
Guadalajara. They immediately
proceeded to the morgue to identify the bodies and to process any
evidence which might be present.
After much bureaucratic delay
from the local officials, they were
finally allowed to proceed. The
bodies were identified only as
cadavers number I and number 2.
It was apparent that each body had
been autopsied and that both were
in an advanced state of decomposition. Cadaver number I was
quickly identified by the fingerprint expert as that of SA
Camarena. Mexican officials
would not allow the second body
to be identified at this time;
however, it was later identified
through dental records as Captain
The FBI forensic team
requested permission to process
the clothing, cordage and burial
sheet found ~with the bodies but the
request was denied. However,
they were allowed to cut small,
“known” samples from these
items and obtain hair samples
from both bodies. Soil samples
were also removed from the
bodies and the clothing items.
A forensic pathologist from
the Armed Forces Institute of
Pathology was allowed to examine
the body of SA Camarena. He
concluded that SA Camarena’s
death was caused by blunt-force
injuries. In addition, SA Camarena had a hole in his skull caused
by a rod-like instrument. SA
ing State Judicial Police Officers,
were arrested and interrogated
concerning the kidnaping of SA
Camarena. Primer Comandante
Pavon-Reyes was fired, and arrest
warrants were issued for a number

… certain Mexican law enforcement officials
were paid a large sum of money … to. obs.truct
and prematurely concludt:: the inVestigation.
Camarena’s body was then
released to the American officials
and immediately flown to the
United States.
The next day, both FBI and
DEA personnel proceeded to the
Bravo ranch where the bodies
were initially found. Because this
site had been a completely uncontrolled crime scene, contaminated
by both police personnel and
onlookers, only a limited crime
scene search was conducted. It
was immediately noted that there
was no grave site in the area, and
that the ~olor of the soil where the
bodies had been deposited differed
from the soil that had been removed from the bodies. Therefore, “known” soil samples from
the drop site were taken to compare with soil removed from the
victims. It was also noted that
there were no significant body fluids at the “burial” site. This led
the forensic team to conclude that
the bodies had been buried elsewhere, exhumed and transported
to this site.
The MFJP officials were later
confronted with the evidence that
the bodies had been relocated to
the Michoacan area. This was one
of the factors which led to a new,
unilateral MFJP investigation. As
a result, several suspects, includ-

of international drug traffickers,
including Rafael Caro-Quintero
and Ernesto Fonseca.
In late March 1985, DEA
Agents located a black Mercury.
Gran Marquis which they believed
was used in the kidnaping or transportation of SA Camarena. The
vehicle had been stored in a
garage in Guadalajara, and a brick
wall had been constructed at the
entrance to conceal it. The vehicle
was traced to a Ford dealership
owned by Caro-Quintero. Under
the watchful eye of the MFJP at
the Guadalajara Airport, the FBI
forensic team processed the vehicle for any hair, fiber, blood and/
or fingerprint evidence it might
During April 1985, the MFJP
informed the DEA that they believed they had located the
residence where SA Camarena and
Captain Zavala had been held. The
FBI forensic team was immediately dispatched to Guadalajara;
however, they were not allowed to
proceed to the residence, located
at 881 Lope De Vega, until an
MFJP forensic team had processed
the residence and had removed all
of the obvious evidence. The DEA
was also informed that since the
abduction of SA Camarena, all of
the interior walls had been
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ September 1989/3
painted, the entire residence had
recently been cleaned, and that a
group of MFJP officers were presently occupying, and thereby contaminating, the residence.
On the first day after the
arrival of the FBI forensic team,
they surveyed and began a crime
scene search of the residence and
residence consists of a large, twostory structure with a swimming
pool, covered patio, aviary and
tennis court surrounded by a common wall. The most logical place
to hold a prisoner at this location
would be in the small out-building
located to the rear of the main
residence. This out-building, designated as the “guest house,”
consisted of a small room, carpeted by a beige rug, wi th an
adjoining bathroom. The entire
room and bathroom were ‘processed for hairs, fibers and latent
fingerprints. The single door into
this room was made of steel and
reinforced by iron bars. It was
ultimately determined by means of
testimony and forensic evidence
that several individuals interrogated and tortured SA Camarena
in this room. In addition, a locked
bedroom, located on the second
floor of the main house, was also

The forensic pitfalls and
problems of this case
. .. were eventually

processed, and the bed linens were
removed from a single bed.
Known carpet samples were taken
from every room in the residerice.
A beige VW Atlantic, which
fit the general description of the
smaller vehicle noted by the person who witnessed SA Camarena’s abduction, was parked
under a carport at the rear of the
residence. The VW Atlantic was
also processed for hairs, fibers and
On the second day, a thorough grounds search was conducted. As FBI forensic team
members were walking around the
tennis court, they caught a glimpse
of something blue in one of the
drains. Upon closer inspection, it
appeared to be a folded license
plate, at the bottom of the drain.
However, a heavy, iron grate covered the drain and prevented the
plate’s immediate retrieval.
When one of the FBI Agents
returned to the main house to ask
the MFJP officers for a crowbar,
they became extremely curious
and followed the Agent as he
returned, empty handed, to the
tennis court. By this ,time, a second Agent had managed to remove
the grate by using a heavy-wire
coat hanger. The license plate was
retrieved, unfolded and photographed. The MFJP officers, all
of whom were now at the tennis
court, became upset at this discovery, and one of them immediately
contacted his superior at MFJP
headquarters, who ordered them to
DEA Agents remove the brick wall concealing the black
Mercury Gran Marquis believed to have been used in the
kidnaping and transportation of SA Camarena.
4 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

secure the license plate until the
Assistant Primer Comandante
arrived on the scene. After his
arrival approximately 20 minutes
later, he seized the license pI ate
and would not allow the Americans to conduct any further
However, by this time, five
very large plastic bags of evidence
had been recovered and were
placed in the rear of a DEA truck.
The evidence was quickly transported to the DEA vault in the
U.S. Consulate.
After negotiations between
the United States and Mexico, the
MFJP did allow a second, final
search of the residence. On June
24, 1985, a forensic team returned
and processed the four remaining
rooms on the first floor of the
main house.
By this point in the investigation, an associate of Rafael CaroQuintero had been arrested and
interrogated by the MFJP. He
stated that the bl.’Jies of two
Americans, Albert Radelat and
John Walker, who had been abducted and killed by Mexican drug
traffickers, were buried on the
south side of La Primavera Park, a
large, primitive park west of
Guadalajara. The bodies of
Radelat and Walker were located
and recovered. Soil samples taken
from the surface of an area near
their graves were similar in most
respects to the soil recovered
earlier from the bodies of SA
Camarena and Captain Zavala.
In September 1985, DEA
personnel went to La Primavera
park and sampled an area approximately 2 feet below the surface
near the same site. This sample
matched the soil samples from SA
Camarena and Captain Zavala
almost grain for grain, indicating
that this site was almost certainly
their burial site before they were
relocated to the Bravo ranch.
Later that fall, after further
negotiations between the U.S. and
the Mexican governments, pelmission was finally granted for an FBI
forensic team to process the evidence seized by the MFJP forensic
team from 881 Lope De Vega the
previous April. The evidence consisted of small samples the MFJP
had taken of SA Camarena’s burial sheet, a piece of rope used to
bind SA Camarena, a portion of a
pillowcase removed from bedroom
number 3, a piece of unsoiled rope
removed from the covered patio
and a laboratory report prepared
by the MFJP Crime Laboratory.
The remainder of the evidence had
been destroyed for “health reasons.”
interrogator during his ordeal at
881 Lope De Vega.
The Trial
In July 1988, the main trial of
the murder, interrogation and
abduction of SA Camarena began
in U.S. District Court in Los
Angeles, CA. The forensic evidence presented in this trial identified 881 Lope De Vega as the site
where SA Camarena had been
held. The evidence also strongly
associated two Mexican citizens,
Rene Verdugo and Sergio EspinoVerdin, with the “guest house” at
881 Lope De Vega. Several types
of forensic evidence were used to
associate SA Camarena with 881
Lope De Vega: Forcibly removed
head hairs, founeI in the “guest
house” and bedroom number 4, in
the VW Atlantic and in the Mercury Gran Marquis, and two types

… almost all of the evidence introduced at the
trial made a tremendous impact on the
outcome of this proceeding.
In January 1986, a drug trafficker named Rene Verdugo, who
was considered to be a high-ranking member of the Caro-Quintero
gang, was apprehended and taken
to San Diego, where he was
aITested by the DEA. He was then
transported to Washington, DC,
where hair samples were taken.
He refused to testify before a Federal grand jury investigating the
Camarena case. Later that year,
DEA personnel obtained hair samples in Mexico City from Sergio
Espino- Verdin, a former federal
comandante, who is believed to
have been SA Camarena’s primary

of polyester rug fibers, a dark,
rose-colored fiber and a light-colored fiber. Fabric evidence was
also presented, which demonstrated the similarities of color,
composition, Gonstruction and
design between SA Camarena’s
burial sheet and the two pillowcases recovered from bedrooms number 3 and 5.
Based on this evidence associating SA Camarena and 881
Lope De Vega, the FBI Laboratory examiner was able to testify
that SA Camarena was at this
residence, as well as in the VW
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Septernber 1989 I 5
Li cense
P lates
Porch I

, CO
–< CD KITCHEN GARAGE Area MAIN HOUSE FRONT PORCH Shdlng Gale Atlantic and the Mercury Gran Marquis, and that he had been in a position such that his head hairs were forcibly removed. Captain Alfredo Zavala was also found to be associated with the "guest house" at 881 Lope De Vega. Light-colored nylon rug fibers, found on samples of his clothing taken at the second autopsy, matched the fibers from the "guest house" carpet. A detailed model of the residence at 881 Lope De Vega was prepared by the Special Proj- 6 i ~J GUEST IL ROOM Q) l Left: Diagram of the 881 Lope De Vega grounds. Top right: The beige VW Atlantic Which was found parked under a carport at the rear of the residence. Bottom right: The "guest house" in which Camarena was interrogated and tortured. routine procedures had to be ignored or unconventional methods employed. However, in many instances, detailed trial testimony overcame the limitations of certain evidence, and eventually, almost all of the evidence introduced at the trial made a tremendous impact on the outcome of this proceeding. After an 8-week trial, Conclusion conducted under tight security af!d The forensic pitfalls and involving hundreds of witnesses, problems in this case (i.e. destruc- all of the defendants were found tion of evidence, contamination of guilty, convicted on all counts and crime scenes) were eventually are currently serving lengthy senresolved. In some cases, certain tences. lF~~ ects Section of the FBI Laboratory for the trial. Over 20 trial charts were also prepared to explain the various types of forensic evidence. These charts proved invaluable in clarifying the complicated techniques and characteristics used in the examination of the hair, fiber, fabric and cordage evidence. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Purchase answer to see full attachment

Why Choose Us

  • 100% non-plagiarized Papers
  • 24/7 /365 Service Available
  • Affordable Prices
  • Any Paper, Urgency, and Subject
  • Will complete your papers in 6 hours
  • On-time Delivery
  • Money-back and Privacy guarantees
  • Unlimited Amendments upon request
  • Satisfaction guarantee

How it Works

  • Click on the “Place Order” tab at the top menu or “Order Now” icon at the bottom and a new page will appear with an order form to be filled.
  • Fill in your paper’s requirements in the "PAPER DETAILS" section.
  • Fill in your paper’s academic level, deadline, and the required number of pages from the drop-down menus.
  • Click “CREATE ACCOUNT & SIGN IN” to enter your registration details and get an account with us for record-keeping and then, click on “PROCEED TO CHECKOUT” at the bottom of the page.
  • From there, the payment sections will show, follow the guided payment process and your order will be available for our writing team to work on it.