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Enrique Camarena Case: A Forensic Nightmare

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 58 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1989) Pages: 1-6
M P Malone
Date Published
6 pages
The abduction of United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent Enrique Camarena and a DEA source in Mexico in 1985 led to one of the largest investigations by the DEA and a case that involved unusual forensic problems that required unusual solutions.
The two men were abducted on February 7, 1985 and their partially decomposed bodies were found and autopsied at morgues in Guadalajara. The main problems encountered in the forensic analyses were the destruction of evidence and the contamination of crime scenes. In addition, bureaucratic delays by local officials hampered the investigation by the FBI forensic team. It was clear that certain Mexican law enforcement officials were paid a large sum of money to obstruct and prematurely conclude the investigation. The problems were overcome by ignoring certain routine procedures or using unconventional methods. The problems were ultimately resolved, and almost all the evidence introduced at the trial made a major impact on the outcome. The 8-week trial was conducted under tight security and involved hundreds of witnesses. All the defendants were found guilty, were convicted on all counts, and are currently serving lengthy sentences. Photographs and diagrams.