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This week we remember a man who died horrifically.
He wasn't a Ketchikan man, nor did he live in Southeast Alaska.
But it doesn't matter that he didn't live among us. He worked for us, trying to make life here one of the many safer places to be and raise families. Twenty-eight years after his death, we remember Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena.
Camarena, a special agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, died after being beaten and tortured for three days in response to orders by a Mexican drug cartel leader. The Mexican government captured Rafael Caro Quintero, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in jail. However, he was released this past summer on a technicality.
The cartel targeted Camarena because he effectively interfered with its operation. He, along with other agents, cost the cartel billions of dollars.
Quintero and others involved in Camarena's torture crushed his skull, jaw, nose and cheekbones, according to a recent story by Fox News. They tortured him with a cattle prod, broke his ribs and drilled a hole in head.
In the years that followed, Camarena's story became familiar through the nation's War on Drugs. His name became synonymous with Red Ribbon Week, seven days dedicated to remembering his sacrifice and the continuing struggle to fight the drug war.
During Red Ribbon Week, Americans wear red ribbons to signify their commitment to a drug-free lifestyle and participate in other drug-free related events.
This Saturday in Ketchikan, the Alaska State Troopers and Ketchikan Police Department will be participating in the seventh National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
The troopers and police will be at a table in The Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, collecting unwanted and/or expired prescription drugs on a "no questions asked" basis. It is recommended that the drugs be turned in for incineration instead of flushed or placed in the garbage. Prescription drugs include pills, particularly pain pills, and cough syrup.
No illegal drugs will be collected at The Plaza table, but may be taken to troopers headquarters and turned in for disposal.
Whether illegal or prescribed, drugs don't signify a healthy lifestyle. Red Ribbon Week draws attention to this.
Red Ribbon Week begins today.