Former Drug Enforcement Administration official James Kuykendall is suing Amazon for defamation over his depiction in recent docuseries The Last Narc. According to Variety, Kuykendall’s lawsuit claims that The Last Narc falsely portrays him as complicit “in the murder of his close friend and fellow agent” Kiki Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by cartel members in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1985.
Variety reports that Kuykendall’s suit names Amazon Studios, The Last Narc star and former DEA agent Hector Berrellez, assistant producer John Massaria, executive producer Tiller Russell, Good Pixel Productions, and the Intellectual Property Corporation as defendants in the defamation suit. Kuykendall claims that The Last Narc “masquerades as a factual documentary, but in reality, it aims to capitalize on Camarena’s tragic murder by scandalizing it for profit and for entertainment value.”
Released in July 2020, The Last Narc tells the story of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an American DEA agent who was murdered by Mexican drug lords in 1985. Over the course of four episodes, the filmmakers investigate Camarena’s death and uncover new information through interviews with three former cartel insiders.
The defamation suit reportedly states that The Last Narc relies on a “lurid conspiracy narrative” that connects Camarena’s murder to a conspiracy organized by the CIA and other U.S officials. The docuseries claims that these officials worked with the cartel to traffic drugs inside the U.S. and put the proceeds towards funding the Contras fighting the Communist regime in Nicaragua; as The Last Narc suggests, Camarena discovered this conspiracy and was murdered before he could expose it.
“As part of this far-fetched narrative, the Show falsely and despicably accuses Plaintiff Kuykendall … of complicity in the murder of his close friend and fellow agent,” reads the lawsuit (per Variety). “Specifically, the Show falsely claims that Plaintiff received bribes from the Cartel, that he was present at Cartel meetings where Camarena’s kidnapping was planned, that he then aided and abetted the execution of that plan, and that he deliberately sabotaged the trial of one of Camarena’s murderers by lying for the Cartel.”
Kuykendall’s suit also claims that the former DEA agent spoke with Amazon representatives and executive producer Tiller Russell while The Last Narc was in production, and at the time, he demanded that the show not be released due to its allegedly false narrative but producers proceeded with the show as planned. Now, Kuykendall alleges that the defendants acted with actual malice in producing and distributing The Last Narc, as they knew the show’s depiction of Kuykendall’s story was false.
Decider has reached out to Amazon for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.
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