On this day 25 years ago (July 7, 1997), a feared drug cartel boss Amado Carrillo Fuentes – nicknamed ‘The Lord of the Skies’ – died after plastic surgery to drastically alter his looks
His death remains one of the most peculiar ways in which a major drug lord has met their maker.
Born on December 17, 1956 in Sinaloa, Mexico, Amado initially worked for his uncle Ernesto ‘Don Neto’ Fonseca Carrillo, then-leader of the Guadalajara Cartel.
Amado started out overseeing his uncle’s drug shipments and quickly worked his way up in the criminal underworld.
In 1993, he murdered Rafael Aguilar Guajardo to seize overall control of the Juarez Cartel, which quickly became a drug trafficking powerhouse following the 1989 arrest of Miguel Félix Gallardo, who had until then managed to organise Mexico’s rival cartels.
Amado earned the nickname ‘The Lord of the Skies’ as he was the first kingpin to charter a fleet of private planes to smuggle cocaine from Colombia into Mexico and then on to the US.
Unlike other Mexican drug lords who became household names and faces in the 1990s – such as Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán – Amado was one of Mexico’s “most mysterious men”, according to the Washington Post.