Dr. Delgado in Narcos Mexico: Real Story of Humberto Machain

dr delgado kiki camarena

DEA Kiki Camarena, the DEA agent that Dr. Delgado is accused of helping torture in Narcos Mexico Season 2.

The second season of the popular Netflix show, Narcos Mexico 2, starts with the kidnapping of a physician named Dr. Delgado (warning: There will be some spoilers for the show in this article.)

We start by seeing Dr. Delgado in a typical physician’s setting before he’s ambushed and abducted as he walks to his car. It’s quickly revealed that the kidnappers are no other than those affiliated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which is furious about the torture and murder of their agent, Kiki Camarena, by the Felix Gallardo cartel.

At first Dr. Delgado pleads innocence; he tried to get the cartel to go easy on Kiki he claims. However, the doctor’s treachery is revealed when the agents produce a tape recording capturing the doctor helping a cartel figure during the Camarena torture session. In drug trafficking conspiracy cases, the narrator explains, you start with the smaller figures and flip them for information on people closer to the top, leading yourself up the chain. And so it was with Delgado, as the agents demand to know the name of the other cartel figure on the tape.

However, was Dr. Delgado real? Was there really a physician involved in Camarena’s tragic death. Yes. However, the character was fictionalized and given a new name? In January 2020, the New York Post reported that the real doctor was now running a taco stand in Mexico and denies involvement in Camarena’s death.

Here’s what you need to know:


The Doctor Was Indicted in the US But the Charges Were Dismissed

Entrevista: Humberto Álvarez Machain habla sobre su secuestro por la DEAA 25 años de distancia el doctor, Humberto Álvarez Machain, recuerda uno de los episodios más rígidos entre Estados unidos y México cuando se violó el tratado de extradición al haber sido secuestrado.2016-12-15T16:33:41.000Z

A 1992 story in The New York Times gives the real story of the doctor character. It says that the doctor, Humberto Alvarez Machain, was standing trial for the 1985 murder of Camarena, which did also occur in real life.

The article states that the doctor was kidnapped and flown to the U.S.

Dr. Alvarez (not Delgado in real life) was kidnapped in 1990 at his Guadalajara office by men paid money by the U.S. government, which then flew him to El Paso. He was a gynecologist in real life, according to the Times. His lawyers claimed the government forced a statement out of him. As the Netflix series shows, the doctor in real life was accused of giving Camarena drugs to keep him awake so he could be interrogated and tortured some more.

According to the International Crimes Database, a District Court dismissed the indictment against Alvarez “on the ground that it violated the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico and ordered Alvarez-Machain’s repatriation.” That’s because the U.S. government had abducted him.

The 1992 court decision reads, “Respondent, a citizen and resident of Mexico, was forcibly kidnapped from his home and flown by private plane to Texas, where he was arrested for his participation in the kidnapping and murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and the agent’s pilot. After concluding that DEA agents were responsible for the abduction, the District Court dismissed the indictment on the ground that it violated the Extradition Treaty between the United States and Mexico (Extradition Treaty or Treaty), and ordered respondent’s repatriation. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Based on one of its prior decisions, the court found that, since the United States had authorized the abduction and since the Mexican government had protested the Treaty violation, jurisdiction was improper.”

That decision adds: “The DEA believes that respondent, a medical doctor, participated in the murder by prolonging agent Camarena’s life so that others could further torture and interrogate him.”

You can read that court decision here.

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