Amado Carrillo Fuentes

Later known as the “Lord of the Skies” for his use of large commercial jets to transport cocaine, Amado Carrillo Fuentes was a long-time socio, or partner, of Pablo Acosta.

The enigmatic Amado was believed to be part of the Guadalajara drug cartel, a nephew of Ernesto Fonseca, who sent him to Ojinaga to oversee cocaine shipments that belonged to the Guadalajara group and learn about border operations from Pablo Acosta. Through a protection scheme with Mexican federal and state police agencies and with the Mexican army, Acosta was able to ensure the security for five tons of cocaine being flown by turboprop every month from Colombia to Ojinaga — sometimes landing at the municipal airport, sometimes at dirt airstrips on ranches upriver from the Rio Grande town.

Carrillo Fuentes took over organized crime in northern Mexico after the death of Pablo Acosta and died in Mexico City in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery. Nicknamed the "Lord of the Skies" for his private fleet of large commercial jets he used to ship cocaine, he gained a reputation for extreme ruthlessness. Looking on are pathologists at the Federal Judicial Police morgue in Mexico City. (Photo by Andrew Winning/Reuters/Archive photo)

Carrillo Fuentes took over organized crime in northern Mexico after the death of Pablo Acosta and died in Mexico City in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery. Nicknamed the “Lord of the Skies” for his private fleet of large commercial jets he used to ship cocaine, he gained a reputation for extreme ruthlessness. Looking on are pathologists at the Federal Judicial Police morgue in Mexico City. (Photo by Andrew Winning/Reuters/Archive photo)

By 1985, American intelligence began to see Carrillo Fuentes as a key player in Ojinaga and suspected he was positioning himself to take over. This occurred after the death of Pablo Acosta. Within a few years, he became the most powerful drug trafficker in Mexico and was known for extreme ruthlessness.

While Acosta was still alive, Carrillo Fuentes often accompanied Acosta, Marco DeHaro, and Becky Garcia on their smuggling activities, including the rescue of a broken-down marijuana truck near Lomas de Arena. The mugshot was taken after Carrillo Fuentes was jailed in Mexico for several weeks in 1989. By then, he had undergone plastic surgery at least once to alter his appearance. He died in 2007 while undergoing plastic surgery.

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