[This story contains spoilers for the third season of Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico.]
José María Yazpik had his own opinion about Amado Carillo Fuentes’ fate going into Narcos: Mexico.
The actor, who grew up in Tijuana, was familiar with the real-life narco known as “Lord of the Skies” before playing him for four seasons on the Netflix drug cartel series. First introduced on the final season of the Colombia-set Narcos, Yazpik’s Amado became a major character on Narcos: Mexico, which reset the franchise in Mexico with a three-season story.
The third and final season of Narcos: Mexico, which released on Nov. 5, tracked the rising bosses of the Juárez, Tijuana and Sinaloa cartels, with Juárez drug smuggler Amado emerging as Mexico’s biggest cocaine trafficker in the 1990s. Amado, who had a top Mexican general on his payroll, ran a fleet of cargo planes that flew cocaine from Colombia to the Mexico-U.S. border.
The end of Narcos: Mexico dramatizes Amado planning his exit from the drug game amid a changing landscape in the mid-to-late ’90s, something that Yazpik says would create a “domino effect” in giving rise to the modern drug war. As is told in voiceover in the finale, Amado died in 1997 when his heart gave out on the operating table while undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance and remain on the run. The fuzzy circumstances around his death, however, have prompted lingering questions about whether or not he actually died.
“The body disappeared; the doctors were killed. So, nobody really knew what happened,” Yazpik tells The Hollywood Reporter about the investigation into the real Fuentes’ death, referencing a lack of witnesses and documentation. “So, officially, Amado was dead. I don’t believe he died. I believe that he got away with it.”
In the finale, DEA characters Walt (Scoot McNairy) and Kuykendall (Matt Letscher) discuss how the corpse that was identified by the Mexican federales vanished and two of the surgeons who operated on Fuentes at the Mexico City hospital later showed up dead. Then, the final scene in the series shows Amado’s girlfriend, Marta (Yessica Borroto Perryman) at the house he secured for her in Chile along with two glasses of wine and the toy plane that Amado always carried around sitting on the piano.
Narcos: Mexico showrunner Carlo Bernard had told THR that the implications made in the final scene were intended to speak to the “lack of clarity and the lack of black-and-white answers in the drug trade,” with research about Fuentes possibly having a woman and maybe an entire family in Cuba inspiring the storyline.
Yazpik also did his own research. “I met with these guys from the army and special forces who were there that day; they saw the body and kept on with the investigation,” he says, adding that there are “a couple” stories they told him that he cannot share. “I truly believe that Amado got away with it. He left. I’m not saying he went to Chile or Cuba; the latest intel is that he was somewhere around Germany, many years ago. But I think he got away. He’s one of the few guys who said, ‘That’s enough.’ And he planned everything and he left. But I could be wrong.”
The DEA confirmed Fuentes’ death in 1997 and, when questions circulated about if he could be alive, the agency responded with a statement: “The rumor has as much credibility as the millions of sightings of the late Elvis Presley.”
But Yazpik cites corruption on both sides of the border — a running theme in the Narcos franchise — as reason to speculate. “The dynamic of it is that they will manipulate the truth and say whatever they need to say depending on their needs and the situation they’re living on both sides,” he says of the government agencies. “If at that time it was a good choice to say, ‘He’s dead, let’s worry about something else,’ then he was dead.”
Due to his Tijuana roots, Yazpik also had proximity to the Fuentes family and others portrayed on the season, like some of the “Narco Juniors” — the gang under Ramón Arellano Félix (played by Manuel Masalva) of the Tijuana reigning family — some of whom he says he carpooled with to school when he was younger. Now, Yazpik resides in Mexico City.
“Amado lived many years here in Mexico City and one of his kids, the eldest, went to school with a couple of good friends of mine,” he shares. “I got to speak to them and hear a whole bunch of stories. I don’t know if they were true or not, but they knew I was doing the research so I hope they weren’t embellishing everything. Then I also met with several people who used to work in the army and special forces here in Mexico — a couple of them that went to the hospital that night that Amado got his reconstructive surgery. So I got a lot of first-hand very amazing information.”
Another bit of research that informed Amado this season was Bernard and the writers coming upon information that referenced a daughter who had passed away. That storyline was written into the season as something that fueled Amado’s desire to reach his peak of success and then get out of the game.
“Amado was a very charismatic, funny person that really was a family guy. That was a big part of him, to take care of his kids and to be with them as much as possible. So he was this family guy — a sensitive, funny, caring, protective criminal,” Yatzpik says. “It’s very hard to talk about these people because you sort of get to know them. You’re talking about people who hurt this country very badly and in a very profound way. We’re still living all those things that people did 20 years ago, but I can’t help but feel close to the human side. We all feel fear and love and loss. Those are the values and emotions that I use to get into the character to make them feel closer.”
When playing Amado, Yazpik only wore black, despite the real narco “always wearing suits.” The costume decision was made by the show’s wardrobe designer, Yazpik says, in a bid to differentiate Amado from the many suit-wearing characters in his Colombia season. When asked if he has given thought to how Fuentes would feel about his overall performance, the actor replies: “I imagine him drinking some tequila somewhere in Europe and just going, ‘I never wore black, c’mon guys.'”
Still, Yazpik is proud that the show didn’t glorify the lives of any of the characters.
“The show is not saying, ‘Look at the fantastic life these narcos have for so many years.’ Or, ‘Look how clean and wonderful the American cops are.’ Everything is gray,” he says. “If you do bad stuff, you’re probably not going to get away with it. You’re going to end up betrayed with a bullet or in jail for the rest of your life.”
He continues, “That’s the interesting part about this series and what I hope all the people who see it take away: it’s an ongoing war, it’s a war that’s never going to be won.”
The third and final season of Narcos: Mexico is streaming on Netflix.
El Señor de los Cielos (2013–), aired as part of Telemundo's nighttime programming, stars the Mexican actor Rafael Amaya as Aurelio Casillas (a fictionalized version of Amado Carrillo Fuentes). In the Netflix series Narcos (2017) and Narcos: Mexico (2018–2021), Carrillo is portrayed by José María Yazpik.Did Amado survive? ›
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed yesterday the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the leader of Mexico's most powerful drug cartel, who died Friday following eight hours of plastic surgery to drastically alter his appearance.Who is Armando in narcos? ›
Known as the El Señor de Los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies) for his sophisticated air smuggling network using a fleet of private jets, he was one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords at the height of his career, having amassed a fortune of over $25 billion, rivaling Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Then, the final scene in the series shows Amado's girlfriend, Marta (Yessica Borroto Perryman) at the house he secured for her in Chile along with two glasses of wine and the toy plane that Amado always carried around sitting on the piano.Who is Dr Fuentes? ›
Dr. Veronica Fuentes is a recurring character on NBC drama series New Amsterdam. She is the Medical Director in New Amsterdam Medical Center. She is portrayed as Michelle Forbes.Is Pacho still alive? › Is El Mayo still alive? ›
|Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada|
|Predecessor||Joaquin Guzmán Loera|
|Spouse||Rosario Niebla Cardoza|
AMADO Carrillo Fuentes was one of the most notorious drug lords of all time. With a personal fortune of $25 billion, he was the most powerful drug dealer in Mexico in the 90s and his life has been depicted in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico.Is Amado alive narcos season 3? ›
“But during all these years of research that I've been doing, I talked to people that have a different story. And after putting everything in the balance, I truly believe that Amado Carrillo got away with it.” So, yes, Amado Carrillo Fuentes is believed to be dead by the end of Narcos: Mexico.Did Amado make it to Chile? ›
During the final, desperate months of his life, accused Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes moved to Chile with his family, lieutenants and bodyguards to run a cocaine empire from the unlikely refuge of South America's most prosperous nation, Chilean police said Monday.
Its current known leader is Juan Pablo Ledezma. The Juárez Cartel has an armed wing known as La Línea, a Juárez street gang that usually performs the executions and is now the cartel's most powerful and leading faction.What is El Chapo's net worth? ›
Salvador "Sal" Magluta is a Cuban American former drug kingpin and powerboat racer who, along with his partner Willy Falcon, operated one of the most significant cocaine trafficking organizations in South Florida history. The duo became known as Los Muchachos, Spanish for "the boys".How did New Amsterdam get rid of Dr Fuentes? ›
Dr. Fuentes ended up resigning after a mass walkout of the staff. There was a lot that they were able to do in order to ensure that she turned in her badge once and for all. It was a move of them collectively risking their own futures to ensure that the hospital still had one.Does Max become medical director again? ›
This left New Amsterdam without a Medical Director, but when Max is re-offered the role, he turns it down.Is Fuentes staying on New Amsterdam? ›
Veronica Fuentes (Michelle Forbes), we won't be seeing the hospital's staff for much longer: The NBC medical drama is coming to an end. New Amsterdam is ending with the fifth season, to air in 2022-2023, Deadline reports. (It had been renewed for its third, fourth, and fifth seasons in January 2020.)What was Pablo Escobars net worth? ›
Dubbed "the king of cocaine", Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death—equivalent to $70 billion as of 2022—while his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s.How much money did the Cali cartel have? ›
For decades, the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers defined the label "kingpin." During little more than a decade, their Cali cartel sold, as you have heard, more than 30,000 kilograms of cocaine and amassed an illicit fortune that was worth in excess of one billion dollars.
Narcos viewers know Chris Feistl as the hungry DEA agent who helped dismantle the season-three villains, the Cali cartel.Who is the biggest drug lord in Mexico right now? ›
The Department of Justice considers the Jalisco cartel to be "one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world." The cartel's leader, Nemesio Oseguera, "El Mencho," is among the most sought by Mexican and U.S. authorities.Who currently runs Sinaloa? ›
After the 2016 recapture of its previous leader, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the cartel is now headed by Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada García and Guzmán's sons: Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, Ovidio Guzmán López and Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar.Who is the current drug lord? ›
Joaquin Guzman Loera. CEO of the Sinaloa cartel, "El Chapo" is the world's most powerful drug trafficker. The cartel is responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico. Drug enforcement experts estimate, conservatively, that the cartel's annual revenues may exceed $3 billion.Why did Amado put the tracker back on the plane? ›
After receiving the shipment from Cali lieutenant Jorge Velasquez ("El Navegante"), Amado sent it north, but he had his engineer place the tracker back in one of the planes in order to lure the DEA into a prepared ambush.Who is the Senor de los Cielos based on? ›
“El Señor de Los Cielos” is an Emmy-winning Mexican TV series based on the life of Amado Carrillo, the head of the Juárez drug cartel. With over 300 episodes jam-packed with salacious content, the show proved too spicy to be broadcast in full on open TV.Are Neto and Amado related? ›
Fonseca Carrillo was involved with drug trafficking since the early 1970s, primarily in Ecuador, and later moved his operations to Mexico. Arrested on April 7, 1985. Currently under house arrest. Fonseca is the uncle of former Juárez Cartel leader, Amado Carrillo Fuentes.Who is the serial killer in Narcos: Mexico season 3? ›
Sharif was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison for the death of Silvia Rivera Salas. The new criminal proceeding accused him of murdering 17 other women. While he was in prison, the bodies of women who were raped and murdered were found in different areas of Ciudad Juárez.Does Pablo come back in season 3? ›
Pablo Escobar Returns to 'Narcos: Mexico' Season 3, but Not in the Way You Think.Does Rafael come back in narcos? ›
Indeed, although Rafa's last appearance as a side character in Narcos: Mexico season 2 sees him imprisoned, the real Rafa is still at large. In 1985, Rafa was arrested and sentenced to 40 years in prison, primarily for Kiki's murder.
The latest chapter, #55, had Amado secretly talking to himself and plotting, which Sumire noted. It stands to reason that Amado did indeed want his boss off the table so he could take over Kara for himself and re-engineer a new mission.Why was Amado Carrillo so successful? ›
Carrillo wanted to remain nothing more than a businessman, not a criminal. Another idea included to cut out the middle man in Colombia and expand his business to as far as Australia. These career moves helped him become possibly the most entrepreneurial and cosmopolite of all Mexican drug traffickers ever.How much is rent in Juarez Mexico? ›
|Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in normal area||Mex$ 12,968|
|Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat||Mex$ 1,112|
|Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in expensive area||Mex$ 13,159|
Drug Trafficking Organizations.
The area around Tijuana, which borders southern California, is a lucrative drug-trafficking corridor long dominated by the Arellano Felix cartel but which has since become a battle ground between various gangs, including the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels.Who was the richest black drug lord? ›
Frank Matthews (drug trafficker)
|Other names||"Black Caesar", "Pee Wee", "Mark IV"|
|Occupation||Crime boss, drug trafficker|
Colombian drug baron Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria became the richest criminal of all time and one of the planet's wealthiest men via the production and distribution of drugs.Did Chapo meet Pablo Escobar? ›
Pablo never met Chapo. Pablo's contacts in Mexico in the '80s — we had great evidence, we had fax intercepts — were people like Amado Carrillo Fuentes, [known as] El Señor de Los Cielos. But Pablo never met with Chapo.Who is the Cuban girl in narcos Mexico? ›
Career. Ruiz appears in the 1st and 2nd seasons of the Netflix original series Narcos: Mexico playing Isabella Bautista, a long time friend (and partner in crime) of main character Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo.How rich was Amado Carrillo Fuentes? ›
|Net Worth:||$25 Billion|
|Date of Birth||Dec 17, 1956 - Jul 3, 1997 (40 years old)|
|Place of Birth||Guamúchil|
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in northern Mexico say that gunmen have killed a son of legendary drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes. The father, better known by his nickname,"The Lord of The Skies," for his habit of transporting shipments of drugs on jet airliners, died in a botched plastic surgery in 1997.Who is the most famous drug lord in history? ›
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Guzman is the most notorious drug lord of all time, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In the 1980s, he was a member of the Guadalajara Cartel and used to work for Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo.
now 65 years old, says she lives in Vero Beach, Florida, and works as a consultant.What did Kiki Camarena's death lead to? ›
He was interrogated under torture and murdered. Three leaders of the Guadalajara drug cartel were eventually convicted in Mexico for Camarena's murder. The U.S. investigation into Camarena's murder led to ten more trials in Los Angeles for other Mexican nationals involved in the crime.Who was black beard in narcos? ›
Fernando Del Valle, also known as Blackbeard was Pablo Escobar's main accountant till his arrest in 1984. Aside from laundering money for the cartel, Del Valle was tasked with maintaining a map of all the locations where Escobar buried his cash, giving him his nickname 'Blackbeard'.What does Escobar's daughter do? › Who turned in Felix Gallardo? ›
|Rafael Caro Quintero|
|Added||April 12, 2018|
|Caught||July 15, 2022|
Authorities captured the elusive Rafael Caro Quintero in Mexico, but he could be extradited to the US soon. Quintero is responsible for the 1985 torture and killing of DEA agent Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena, whose plight was dramatized in the Netflix show 'Narcos Mexico'.How long was Kiki tortured? ›
Five men with guns kidnapped Camarena, threw him in a car and drove him to a home, where he was tortured for more than 30 hours before he was killed. Alfredo Zavala, a pilot who worked with Camarena, also was killed.Was Blackie a real person? ›
Nelson Hernández Luballscumí, better known as Blackie or Flipper was a sicario working for the Medellín cartel since its foundation. Blackie was along Pablo Escobar since the beginning of his empire.Is JJ Popeye still alive? › Did Pablo Escobar have Simon Bolivar's sword? ›
Pablo didn't steal the sword of Simon Bolivar
"He didn't give, or take it back from the boss of M-19, as it is in the TV series. "It was given to Pablo as a present for backing M-19's attack on the Supreme Court in which judges were killed and they burnt all the evidence of drug trafficking.
At one time the most wanted man on the planet, the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar buried huge amounts of his estimated $50 billion fortune all over Colombia. The vast majority of this money has never been recovered.How much is Pablo Escobar's money worth today? ›
Dubbed "the king of cocaine", Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death—equivalent to $70 billion as of 2022—while his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s.How much did Pablo Escobar's house cost? ›
Built in 1948, Escobar's estate had four bedrooms and six bathrooms before it was seized by U.S. Marshals in 1987. The U.S. government subsequently sold it to Miami attorney Roger Schindler for $915,000.Did Pablo Escobar Meet El Chapo? ›
Pablo never met Chapo. Pablo's contacts in Mexico in the '80s — we had great evidence, we had fax intercepts — were people like Amado Carrillo Fuentes, [known as] El Señor de Los Cielos. But Pablo never met with Chapo.Did Félix Gallardo ever meet Pablo Escobar? ›
Though Narcos: Mexico depicts a crossover meeting between Félix Gallardo and the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, it is extremely unlikely that this actually would have happened, according to experts. Still, there's no doubt that Félix Gallardo's partnership with other cartels strengthened his business.