Speculation abounds as to the future of a legendary Mexican drug cartel boss set to be released from a U.S. prison on Saturday June 11.
Jesus Hector Palma Salazar, nicknamed “El Güero Palma” or Blondie for his looks, will be free this weekend after completing his sentence in the federal high-security Atwater Penitentiary in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley.
Will the former drug lord return to the Sinaloa Cartel, which he once led along with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán? Will he fall victim to cartel rivalries and not live long enough to assume his former role? Or will the Mexican government find a way to prosecute him and put him behind bars in Mexico?
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office, along with prosecutors throughout Mexico’s 32 states, are reportedly researching all old cases against Palma in hopes of finding a means to try him in his home country and lock him up.
Palma was arrested two decades ago after surviving a plane crash. According to the Associated Press, Palma was wanted by Mexican and U.S. authorities for the shooting death of Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo at the Guadalajara airport in 1993.
Palma, 55, also allegedly ordered the hit on a former state prosecutor, a human rights investigator and four people involved in the murder of his first wife, AP reports.
According to Mexican police, rival Rafael Clavel Moreno once ran off with Palma Salazar’s second wife, eventually decapitating her and sending Palma her head. Clavel also pushed Palma Salazar’s kids to their deaths off a bridge in Venezuela. Clavel was later stabbed to death.
The Sinaloa Cartel is linked to another infamous drug cartel leader known as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, currently jailed in Ciudad Juarez and awaiting probable extradition to the U.S.
Palma and Guzman launched the Sinaloa Cartel in the mid 1980’s. It remains one of the biggest drug cartels in Mexico.