Mexican Supreme Court overturns release for drug kingpin Caro Quintero
Members of the Policia Federal Preventiva (PFP) escort narcotrafficker Rafael Caro Quintero (C) in Guadalajara, on Jan. 29, 2005. [AFP]

Mexico's Supreme Court overturned Wednesday a lower court decision to free drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero, whose sentence for the killing of a US agent was cut short in August.

Caro Quintero, considered a forefather of Mexico's modern drug cartels, has vanished since walking out of prison on a legal technicality with 12 years left to run on his 40-year sentence.

The federal government, which was apparently caught off guard by the veteran drug trafficker's release, had challenged the lower court decision, calling it an "absurd" ruling, and sought his re-arrest.

US authorities, who were outraged by the release of the 61-year-old founder of the Guadalajara drug cartel, are seeking his extradition.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration offered on Tuesday a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture, saying Caro Quintero faces charges in California for the 1985 abduction, torture and murder of its agent Enrique Camarena.

The court that freed him ruled Caro Quintero should have been tried by state, not federal, court. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]