Benjamin Arellano Felix, former leader of the once-powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel, has been extradited from Mexico to the United States to stand trial in federal court in Southern California, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said Friday.
Mexican authorities handed Arellano over to U.S. marshals on Friday at the international airport in the city of Toluca.
Arellano was considered the operational and financial operator of the Arellano Felix Organization, and the man who led the group as it rose to power during the 1990s. As the cartel’s leader, Arellano was instrumental in keeping at bay other drug-trafficking organizations from the Baja California region until his arrest by the Mexican military on March 9, 2002 in the city of Puebla.
U.S. authorities had been seeking Arellano’s extradition to stand trial in San Diego federal court.
Run by a group of brothers — Benjamin, Eduardo, Javier and Ramon — originally from Sinaloa state, the Arellano Félix drug cartel monopolized the lucrative routes for illicit drugs through the Tijuana region to the United States for more than two decades.
The cartel has been weakened over the years with as the brothers and some trusted lieutenants have been arrested or killed. Experts said what was once a strong hierarchy has been replaced by a network of criminal cells led by Fernando Sánchez Arellano, a nephew of the brothers. Sánchez’s nickname is “El Ingeniero,” the Engineer.
In Baja California and across Mexico, drug-trafficking gangs have gained control through violence, intimidation and bribery of law enforcement officials at all levels of government. Originally focused exclusively on trafficking drugs, the organizations have been supplementing their income through other crimes such as kidnapping, robbery and car theft.
In 2007, Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an unprecedented campaign against organized crime, giving the military the primary enforcement role. More than 35,000 people have been killed in the 4½-year war.
Note: This is the only video I could find where it shows images of Benjamin Arellano Felix being arrested.