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Who’s Who in Narcos Mexico? Actors vs Real-Life Characters

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Netflix dives back into the world of drug trafficking with Narcos: Mexico. Following the success of its predecessor, Narcos, the new series tells the real-life story of the rise to power of the Guadalajara Cartel and the drug wars that took place in Mexico during the 1980s.

Diego Luna as Félix Gallardo ‘El Padrino’

Mexican actor Diego Luna takes on the role of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, also known as El Padrino (The Godfather), in Narcos: Mexico. Luna’s previous work includes notable films such as Y tu mamá también, Rogue One, and Dirty Dancing 2.

Félix Gallardo was a pioneer in the history of drug trafficking in Mexico. He was the first to establish contact with Colombian cartels and smuggle cocaine into the United States. Born in Culiacán, Mexico, in 1946, he worked in the Federal Judicial Police as a young man and later became a bodyguard for the children of a former governor.

Considered the heir to the empire built by the infamous drug lord Pedro Avilés, Félix Gallardo started out trafficking marijuana and opium. He then formed alliances with the Medellín Cartel led by Pablo Escobar Gaviria and the notorious drug trafficker Ramón Matta Ballesteros, becoming involved in cocaine smuggling to the US.

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Everything seemed to go smoothly during the 1980s. However, in 1989, Félix Gallardo was captured, and the Guadalajara Cartel came under the leadership of Rafael Caro Quintero, known as El Narco de Narcos, and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, also known as Don Neto. Currently, El Padrino remains imprisoned in the high-security Altiplano penitentiary in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico.

Tenoch Huerta as Rafael Caro Quintero

Tenoch Huerta, a Mexican actor less known in Spain, portrays Rafael Caro Quintero in Narcos: Mexico. Huerta has appeared in films such as Sin nombre and Spectre 007.

Caro Quintero was involved in agriculture and animal breeding as a child until he met Mexican drug trafficker Pedro Avilés Pérez, who introduced him to marijuana cultivation. Known as the Narco of Narcos, Caro Quintero was one of the founders of the Guadalajara Cartel.

In 1989, Caro Quintero was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of DEA agent Enrique Kiki Camarena Salazar and his driver Alfredo Zavala Avelar. However, in 2013, he was released from prison after serving 28 years. Currently, Caro Quintero is a fugitive from Mexican justice, and the United States offers a significant reward for his capture.

Joaquín Cosío as Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo ‘Don Neto’

Joaquín Cosío, a Mexican actor known for his roles in Matando Cabos, El infierno, and Quantum of Solace, portrays Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, also known as Don Neto, in Narcos: Mexico.

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Fonseca Carrillo began his involvement in drug trafficking in 1970, starting in Ecuador and later moving to Mexico. In the late 1980s, he was accused, along with Caro Quintero, of the murder of a DEA agent and sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 2016, he was placed under house arrest due to his advanced age and health condition.

Michael Peña as Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena

Michael Peña, an American actor of Mexican descent, plays the role of undercover DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena in Narcos: Mexico.

Kiki Camarena, born in Mexico and naturalized as an American, joined the Marines in 1968 before becoming a firefighter and then a police officer. He joined the DEA in 1974. His greatest challenge was infiltrating the Guadalajara Cartel, from where he gathered information to dismantle drug labs and plantations.

However, the DEA’s operation known as Operation Rancho Búfalo destroyed a thousand hectares of marijuana, leading the cartel bosses to suspect they had an infiltrator. They eventually discovered Kiki Camarena, kidnapped him and his driver in broad daylight, and tortured him to death.

Alejandro Edda as Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán

Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is one of the most well-known Mexican drug traffickers to this day. In the series, Alejandro Edda brings him to life.

El Chapo initially worked with the Guadalajara Cartel before becoming the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel and, for a time, the primary drug trafficker in Mexico. He managed to escape from prison twice, in 2001 and 2015.

In 2016, he was captured again and extradited to the United States. In November 2018, his trial began, charging him with leading the largest drug cartel and smuggling more than 155 tons of cocaine into the US.

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Teresa Ruiz as Isabella Bautista

Teresa Ruiz, an actress from Oaxaca, takes on one of her significant roles in Narcos: Mexico. She previously appeared in films such as Ciudad del silencio alongside Jennifer López and Antonio Banderas.

In the series, Ruiz portrays Isabella Bautista, Félix Gallardo’s girlfriend. According to Ruiz, Isabella Bautista is “one of the few women involved in the cocaine business of that time.”

José María Yazpik as Amado Carrillo Fuentes

Known as “El Señor de los Cielos” (The Lord of the Skies) due to his fleet of aircraft, Amado Carrillo Fuentes was the leader of the Juarez Cartel. José María Yazpik portrays this notorious drug trafficker in Narcos: Mexico.

Carrillo Fuentes used his airplanes for drug transportation and maintained a low profile, rarely appearing in the press. When his main operative, José de Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, was captured, Carrillo Fuentes felt cornered and traveled to Brazil to undergo plastic surgery. Unfortunately, he died after eight hours of surgery.

Fermín Martínez as Esparragoza Moreno ‘El Azul’

Juan José Esparragoza Moreno’s criminal career began alongside Amado Carrillo Fuentes in the Guadalajara Cartel. Known as ‘El Azul’ (The Blue One) due to his intense dark skin tone, he was imprisoned from 1986 to 1993. While in jail, Esparragoza Moreno served as the second-in-command of the Juarez Cartel, second only to Amado Carrillo.

Fermín Martínez, an actor from Mexico City, brings this character to life. He has previously worked with actors such as Salma Hayek, Brad Pitt, Gael García Bernal, and Diego Luna.

Alyssa Diaz as Mika Camarena

Alyssa Diaz, an American actress born in Los Angeles, portrays Mika Camarena, the wife of the DEA agent. She previously appeared in the fourth season of the popular series The Vampire Diaries.

In Narcos: Mexico, Diaz embodies the character of Mika Camarena, one of the few women involved in the cocaine business during that era.

Now that you have a glimpse of the actors and their real-life counterparts in Narcos: Mexico, dive into the gripping series to witness their performances firsthand.


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