Narcos: Mexico is all about the rise and fall of Félix’s united Guadalajara Cartel, and one figure who comes into prominence after Guadalajara fractures is Amado Carrillo Fuentes (José María Yazpik), the new leader of the Juárez Cartel alongside Aguilar. Amado Fuentes in Narcos: Mexico is based on the real life "Lord of the Skies," who earned the nickname in the 1990s because he was the first drug lord to use a large fleet of passenger airplanes to transport cocaine from Colombia to the Mexico-U.S. border. At the height of his power, Amado reportedly owned up to 30 Boeing 727s.
Per The New York Times, Amado grew up in Sinaloa, one of eleven kids. Though his family was poor, Amado was the nephew of Guadalajara Cartel leader "Don Neto," and Amado eventually rose to wealth in the 1980s under Don Neto’s tutelage. Amado was relatively obscure in the drug world until 1994, when he earned the "Lord of the Skies" nickname. By pioneering the way cocaine was transported, Amado became the head of a multi-billion dollar empire, freely paying off Mexican law enforcement officials and politicians to evade arrest.
After Amado’s death in 1997, for example, Mexico’s top anti-drug official, Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested on charges of putting his entire central Mexican command of 38,000 troops at Amado’s service. Amado had major operational centers, haciendas and penthouse apartments in several northern cities.
After his organization came under increasing scrutiny by U.S. intelligence agencies, Amado went underground, according to a 1997 The Washington Post article. He eventually checked himself in at Santa Monica hospital in Mexico City under the fake name Antonio Flores Montes, and asked for plastic facial surgery to hide his appearance. Amado underwent eight hours of surgery, and passed away in the hospital bed shortly after.
It was reported by The New York Times four months after Amado’s death that three of the surgeons who worked on him were being charged with murder. Mariano Herran Salvatti, the then-head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency, said that "acting with malice and with the intention of taking his life, these physicians applied a combination of medicines that resulted in the death of the trafficker." By the time Herran Salvatti reported it, two of the surgeons had already been found tortured to death.
If Narcos: Mexico gets renewed for Season 3, the show could easily follow Amado as he slowly rises to infamy and pioneers his plane transport. Amado’s actor José María Yazpik sees value in continuing to follow Amado’s story, as the show sheds light on the War on Drugs and how figures like Amado had a hand in the issues that ravage the country to this day.
"To me, what seems worthwhile [about Narcos: Mexico] is that you can have a discussion, a reflection about what’s being done well and badly," Yazpik explained to Al Día News. "History tells us that you cannot fight against this, you have to modify the way in which things are being done — and what remains is dialogue, not bullets, so what I hope is that this collective reflection continues and leads to a discussion about the issue."
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