Mexico extradites reputed drug lord Arellano Felix to U.S.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An alleged leader of the violent Arellano-Felix drug organization was extradited Friday from Mexico to the United States to face racketeering, money laundering and narcotics trafficking charges.

Alberto Benjamin Arellano-Felix, once considered the financial operator of the AFO, will be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Arellano-Felix was taken into custody by Mexican authorities in 2002. A final order of extradition was granted in 2007, but after several years of unsuccessful appeals, he was sent to the United States today.

“The extradition of Benjamin Arellano-Felix reflects our close collaboration with our Mexican law enforcement partners to dismantle violent criminal organizations in Mexico and the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.

“The Arellano-Felix Organization has spread fear and violence on both sides of the border, and today's extradition is an important step forward in our effort to hold the alleged leaders of this criminal enterprise to account.”

Long-reputed to be one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations, the AFO controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States, authorities said. Its operations also extended into southern Mexico and Colombia.

According to authorities, the Arellano-Felix cartel — run by four brothers, Benjamin, Eduardo, Javier and Ramon — monopolized routes for illegal drugs through Tijuana to the United States for more than 20 years.

Ramon Arellano-Felix, the organization's top enforcer, was killed in a shootout in Mexico in 2002. Javier Arellano-Felix, captured in 2006, is serving a life sentence in the United States. Eduardo Arellano-Felix was captured in 2008 after a shootout in Tijuana and U.S. authorities are still seeking his extradition.

Categories: KUSI