Former Medellín cartel member turned confidential DEA informant wants out after 27 years

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Carlos Toro, a former DEA informant who currently can’t support himself or family, lives with his wife who supports them both on her salary as an administrator at a medical supply company. Toro has come out of hiding and wants out of the bargain he made with the DEA since the 8o’s.

As an informant Toro gathered intelligence that helped take down such legendary figures as cartel kingpin Carlos Lehder and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The DEA recently warned him against going public with his story and the agency claimed it would get him a visa eventually, according to Toro. However, the agency’s process could take several years, and he would still be required to work as an informant. He says he “can’t continue to wait indefinitely or jet around the globe chasing bad guys.”


Toro wants a permanent resolution to his immigration problems and an end to his DEA servitude. Without legal status, he can’t get a job or even health insurance, has no pension, and no way to contribute to their rent. When his driver’s license expires he has no way to legally renew it. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post Toro and his family revealed his identity, and expressed their concerns with the public despite DEA requests to stay silent. His wife told HP,

Many people got promoted because of what my husband did. What did Carlos get out of it? What did my family get out of it?”

In 2010 Toro was awarded “lifetime achievement” award by the U.S government and a check for $80,000; which is about $3,000 for each year of work, the only significant funds he ever made as an informant. With the government’s support, Toro could secure a visa or green card. That would allow him to eventually apply for Medicare and retire in the U.S. with the Social Security benefits he has earned over his years as a civilian employee.

I am not denying that I was at fault by working for the cartel. I feel not that I deserve a medal, not that I should be compensated with money…but that I should be recognized only as a human being who has made a huge mistake, and that I made it up over and over and over.”
-Carlos Toro

Infinite Wiz (@infinitewiz)