Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2006
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2006 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Carol DeMARE, Staff Writer


In 1985, DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was kidnapped, 
tortured and murdered in Guadalajara, Mexico by drug traffickers. The 
37-year-old Camarena was close to exposing a multibillion dollar drug 
pipeline operated by Mexico's biggest marijuana and cocaine 
traffickers, whom he had tracked for 4 years.

He was en route to meet his wife, Mika, for lunch on Feb. 7, 1985, 
when five armed men surrounded him, threw him into a car and sped off.

Camarena's death made such an impact on the agency and his friends in 
his hometown of Calexico, Calif., that it was the impetus for the 
National Red Ribbon Campaign that runs in late October each year.

The DEA said in a statement that the purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to 
preserve Camarena's memory and "further the cause for which he gave 
his life -- the fight against the violence of drug crime and the 
misery of addiction."

Events are planned throughout the United States to commemorate the 
21st anniversary.

On Friday night, Capital District Sports and the Albany DEA office 
will promote Ribbon Week at the Albany River Rats hockey game against 
the Hershey Bears at the Pepsi Arena. It is expected some 7,500 fans 
will attend the game. There will be contests and public service 
announcements throughout the game to recognize the event.

"It's our nation's largest drug prevention awareness effort," said 
Matt Barnes, assistant special agent in charge in Albany.

DEA agents will have a table at the arena and "spread the message of 
drug awareness throughout our community," as well as pass out red 
ribbons that say Freedom Is Drug Free! Remembering Enrique Camarena.

In 1985, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and Camarena's high 
school friend, Henry Lozano, started Camarena Clubs to keep Kiki's 
memory alive. The idea grew into a national campaign in which the DEA 
estimates approximately 80 million people participate every year.

"Several people have been brought to justice" in the murder of 
Camarena, Barnes said.

In a proclamation, Gov. George Pataki said the Empire State joins in 
the nationwide observances "that focus on social problems and dangers 
that threaten the lives of our own citizens -- especially youth -- 
and the proliferation of drugs and narcotics is a primary concern 
among today's society as their abuse claims too many lives each year."
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