Amado Carrillo Fuentes was a Mexican drug smuggler who led the Juárez cartel. Known as the El Senor de Los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies) for his sophisticated air smuggling network using a fleet of private jets, he was one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords at the height of his career, having amassed a fortune of over $25 billion, rivaling Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Initially, he was a part of the Guadalajara cartel and was sent to Ojinaga to work under veteran smuggler Pablo Acosta, and gained control of the Juárez plaza after Acosta's death in 1988. In 1989, he pulled the Juárez plaza out of the Guadalajara cartel, and formed the Juárez cartel with Rafael Aguilar Guajardo.
He died in 1997 following an unsuccessful abdominal liposuction and plastic surgery.
He worked in the Dirección Federal de Seguridad for two years.
Amado earned a pilot's license and became an experienced pilot, capable of handling several aircraft from single engine Cessnas to the four engined Lockheed C-130 Hercules. He also became involved in the marijuana trafficking business, and by 1980 had enough influence to run a small but heavily armed gang.
In 1980, his uncle introduced him to Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, an ex-police officer from Sinaloa who worked for drug lord Pedro Avilés. Félix Gallardo hoped to create a confederation of drug traffickers and wanted someone to chauffeur him across the country to meet the leaders of each of the plazas to unite them under Avilés.
Carrillo flew his uncle and Félix Gallardo to Ojinaga, where they met Pablo Acosta. After Acosta agreed to join the federation, Amado gave a fake Rolex to Acosta, which he gleefully accepted as a sign of the partnership. Then the trio headed to Tijuana and got the Arellano-Félix brothers on board and then met several other plaza leaders including Filemón Medina and Rene Verdugo Urquidez. Later, with Alberto Sicilia Falcon, Amado and his uncle have their first taste of cocaine, instantly developing their addiction.
They return back to Guadalajara, where Félix Gallardo hosted a meeting of all the smugglers to officially start their cartel. However, Pedro Avilés immediately removed Pablo Acosta from the partnership for not showing respect, breaking the consortium. Avilés decided to take Félix Gallardo back to Sinaloa and kill him for being an upstart. Carrillo offers to get his men and kill Pedro if necessary, but Félix Gallardo declined and politely thanked him.
Salvador Osuna Nava, the Director-General of the Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) was one of the attendees of the meeting and was impressed by Félix's plan, and teamed up with Don Neto and rescued Félix Gallardo. Gallardo then shot and killed Pedro himself.
The cartel starts running, and all of it's members including Amado grow richer. The DFS were not pleased with their shares, and decide to kill cartel member and prominent smuggler Victor Molina. In the shootout, one of the cousins of the Arellano Félix brothers is killed, angering Ramón Arellano Félix. Félix Gallardo sends Amado, Joaquín Guzmán Loera and Cuco to gather as much men as possible and ambush the DFS agent responsible for the death of Molina. Amado captures him, and presents him to Ramon, who shoots him on the crotch and Amado and Chapo bury him alive.
Rafael Caro Quintero, one of the leaders of the cartel stages a fake kidnapping of his lover Sofia Conesa, angering Conesa's father, who was the Secretary of Education. In exchange for Rafael's safety, Félix Gallardo agrees to do a personal favour for Osuna Nava. Carrillo is forced to pilot a military transport aircraft carrying high-grade American weapons to a rebel group in Nicaragua. However, upon landing, Félix and Carrillo are captured by the rebel group and are tortured, as per Osuna Nava's orders till they are rescued by an American accompanying them.
Carrillo is then sent to learn the tricks of the trade from Pablo Acosta by Félix Gallardo. At the same time, Félix Gallardo decides to enter the cocaine trafficking business, and Amado supported the move. At this point, a rift begins to develop between Amado and Rafael. Amado begins repackaging Rafael's marijuana before shipping them, angering Rafael. Things turn to the worst when Amado playfully courts Sofia, prompting Rafael to fire his rounds into the ceiling of the nightclub they were partying at before Chapo takes him away. Amado watched all of that with a smirk.
In 1984, Félix Gallardo calls in a meeting where he appointed Héctor Palma Salazar as the leader of operations in Mazatlan, and sent Amado to work under Acosta. This adds to the rift between Amado and Rafael, accelerating Caro Quintero's downward spiral.
November of that year, Rafael's prized farm: the Rancho Búfalo is raided by the Mexican military, causing damages worth upto $2.8 billion. Carrillo is sent to Ojinaga to convince Acosta that the game is still safe, and learns of Acosta's smuggling tricks, including carrying marijuana in the gas tanks of trucks. He also learns that Acosta values human life more than other drug traffickers, and believes his men even if Amado thought that they were lying. He shares everything to Miguel.
The source of the leak is found to be Enrique Camarena Salazar, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent. The DFS manipulate Rafael into ordering his kidnapping, and the agent is tortured and killed. His death sparks a retaliation from the United States, who close the Mexican border and apply pressure on the leaders of the cartel. Caro Quintero flees to Costa Rica; but Félix Gallardo betrays him in order to save himself. However, the bounty on Félix Gallardo's head is still not removed, and he, along with Don Neto go into hiding. Don Neto is eventually arrested by the police, but the status of Felix was still not known.
After Félix Gallardo's disappearance, Benjamín calls in a meeting in his mansion in Ensemada, which Carrillo, along with Acosta, Chapo, Ramon, Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix, Isabella Bautista and a few other high ranking smugglers attend. There, Benjamín proposed to continue the smuggling activities without the three founders, but then out of nowhere, the military surround the place and Félix Gallardo arrives; taking control of his cartel back. He kicks Bautista out, and reaffirms his control over the cartel. After the meeting is over, Amado meets with Miguel, where he laments the arrest of his uncle, and then promise to work together.
In order to give birth to Amado's aerial smuggling network, Félix Gallardo began funding the construction of two airstrips in Juárez. However, work on the airstrips came to complete standstill after Acosta's mysterious disappearance. Upon Rafael Aguilar Guajardo's order, Amado began looking for Acosta, and was told that he was on the other side of the border. Amado crossed into the United States, and located his mentor, now living with Mimi Webb Miller, an American rancher, and contemplated retirement.
Acosta attempted to teach Amado about honor and morality, by warring against Fermín Arévalo who bailed Acosta out of prison when Acosta was 16 years old. Marco de Haro, Acosta's chief-of-security, killed one of Arévalo's sons after Acosta suspected them of stealing from him. Arévalo responded by sending a man to kill Acosta, but Acosta survived the attack. Pablo, Amado and Marco barge into the hospital where the assassin was being treated, and take him to the middle of a desert, where Marco began beating him, forcing the assassin to reveal that Arévalo paid him 2500 pesos to kill Acosta. Acosta gathered a crew of heavily armed men to find and kill Arévalo. However, they discover that Arévalo wasn't there in his ranch, and instead find his wife Antonia. On their way back, their convoy is ambushed by Arévalo and his men. While Amado was distracted by the gunfight, Arévalo managed to sneak up behind and critically wound Acosta. Before he could fire the killing shot, he is shot dead by Amado.
Meanwhile, Miguel began grooming Amado to lead the cartel's transportation after Juan Matta-Ballesteros' arrest. He invited him to a meeting with Hélmer Herrera of the Cali cartel, to renegotiate terms of their agreement after Miguel won the support of the Gulf cartel, effectively monopolizing the Mexican smuggling industry. However, Juan Nepomuceno Guerra did not show up to meeting, and Herrera informed him that his partners made a separate deal with the Gulf cartel, destroying Miguel's plan on dominating the Cali cartel. In a desperate action to keep his organization relevant, Miguel told Herrera that he could transport 70 tons of cocaine in a day. The Colombians accept, and Miguel orders Amado to establish his air smuggling network.
Amado later went to Belize to purchase six Boeing 727s from a bankrupt Belizean airline. The newly purchased jets were flown to an airfield in Chiapas, and were stripped of the seats and other commercial airline amenities to make space for 70 tons of cocaine.
Acosta heard of Miguel attempting to smuggle 70 tons of cocaine, and sensed that the Guadalajara cartel was becoming weak. On his wife's insistence, he spoke to Walt Breslin about a possible witness protection program in the United States, but backed out and decided to give an interview to the American press about his relationship with the Guadalajara cartel. The interview angered officials on both sides of the border, and Acosta is killed in a joint MFJP-FBI raid on his hideout in Santa Elena.
The day before Acosta's death, Amado visited him and requested him to accept his help. Acosta mocked him, and said that he'd rather die as a bandido than as a rat. He then gave back the Rolex he received from Amado seven years ago; saying that he knew it was a fake all along. Acosta's final moments changed Amado's beliefs about working with Miguel.
However, the day before the delivery is to be made, one of the planes developed an electrical problem. Amado and one of his men spent the night stripping the plane apart, until they come across a tracker placed in in the cockpit console. Knowing that his shipment is being tracked, he tells Miguel that he is delaying the shipment by a day, and set up an ambush while resulted in the death of several mercenaries hired by the DEA. The next day, the cocaine is flown from Chiapas to Juárez, and is split and given to all the plazas to smuggle it to the United States.
Félix Gallardo then tipped off the location of the warehouse holding the cocaine to the DEA, resulting in American authorities seizing cocaine valued at over $7 billion and money worth $12 million. While Félix Gallardo did this in order to gain leverage against the Cali cartel, Herrera decided to push Félix out of the business by forming independent agreements with all plaza heads, including Amado.
In the subsequent cartel meeting, Benjamín announced that the Tijuana plaza would be leaving the cartel, following by Chapo and Azul pulling the Sinaloa plaza from the cartel; just as Amado anticipated. After Aguilar announced that the Juárez plaza would be leaving as well, Amado told Félix that Acosta was mostly full of shit, but was right that the cost of doing business was too high. He revealed that he planned on the betrayal a long time ago, but opted to wait for the other plazas to leave him first due to Félix's tyrannical control over them. He and Aguilar then proceed to form the Juárez cartel.
By 1994, Amado became the sole leader of the Juárez cartel. While the Arellano Félix brothers continued to smuggle heroin, Carrillo Fuentes trafficked cocaine belonging to the Cali cartel and took 50% of the cocaine trafficked as payment.
After the fall of the Medellín cartel in 1994, the Cali cartel announce that they were in midst of negotiating a surrender deal with the government of Colombia. As per the agreement, the cartel would cease the production of cocaine. The news of the surrender deal disappointed Amado, as he was the primary trafficker of the Cali cartel.
Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel expressed disappointment over the surrender deal, and as a result, Pacho Herrera murdered one of the cartel's leaders. Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela decided to send Pacho to Mexico to lay low and inform Amado that they would doubling their output for the next six months.
Pacho and his brother, Alvaro Herrera arrive in Mexico and greet Amado as he arrives in a plane full of US dollars, half of it belonging to the Cali cartel. Amado attempted to convince Pacho to form an independent venture after the Cali cartel surrendered, but Pacho refused. Amado took him to Juárez, and explained him the importance of the newly signed NAFTA between USA and Mexico, and warned him that he is quitting the right business at the wrong time. Pacho refused again, reaffirming that his loyalty lied to the Rodriguez brothers, the leaders of the Cali cartel.
Amado began searching for new suppliers, and was immediately contacted by Orlando Henao Montoya of the Norte del Valle cartel. Since Henao and Amado shared a similar view of the future, they agreed to work together. However, as part of their deal, Amado reluctantly gave away the location of Pacho's hideout in Mexico. Henao, who was looking to take revenge on Pacho for the murder of Claudio Salazar sent a brigade of sicarios to attack Pacho. The attack was unsuccessful, as Pacho had survived but his brother was left permanently paralyzed.
Like his mentor Felix Gallardo, Amado was shrewd and highly ambitious. He pioneered the idea of using private jets to fly cocaine across Mexico, revolutionizing his cartel. Amado was a highly astute cartel leader and saw the potential of cocaine way before Caro Quintero, causing Felix to favour him instead of Caro Quintero.
Amado was very laid back and likeable, and rarely made enemies while working under Félix Gallardo, unlike Chapo or Palma Salazar. However despite this, as Acosta had noted, Amado lacked loyalty much like Félix Gallardo. Amado worked with Félix despite knowing that Félix betrayed his uncle, and betrayed Pacho Herrera despite forming a close friendship with him in order to work with the Norte del Valle cartel. This is ultimately demonstrated when he began plotted the overthrowing of Félix Gallardo in the late 1980s. Despite this, Félix while imprisoned recognized that Amado would be the wealthies and most powerful drug trafficker Mexico has ever known, a prediction which came true. This is further proved by the fact that in 1994, the Cali cartel paid Amado in cocaine; something which Félix unsuccessfully tried to achieve.
Amado was highly capable in wielding small arms, and was a highly skilled a versatile pilot.
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|"Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!"|
|"The Colombian Connection"|
|"La Última Frontera"|
|"Jefe de Jefes"|
|"Just Say No"|
|"811 Lope de Vega"|
|"Salva El Tigre"|
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|"The Big Dig"|
|"Truth and Reconciliation"|
|"Se Cayó El Sistema"|
|"Growth, Prosperity, and Liberation"|