After reaching an agreement with U.S. authorities to plead guilty to charges of money laundering, conspiracy to use illegal profits of organized crime in May, Eduardo Arellano Félix, El Doctor, was sentenced today in Federal Court in San Diego to 15 years in prison.
With the sentencing in U.S. District Court in San Diego, Arellano Felix, 56, became the last of four brothers killed or sent to prison in connection with the Arellano Felix drug trafficking ring, federal prosecutors said.
"The three living Arellano Felix brothers, who for decades lived as multi-millionaires while terrorizing the Southwest border, ordering assassinations and corrupting countless public officials are now confined to maximum security prison cells for a very long time. I urge others who aspire to take their place to take note," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said.
Arellano Felix had faced a maximum of 140 years if convicted of the charges brought against him in the original indictment that included racketeering and conspiracy to distribute and import marijuana and cocaine to the United States, although federal sentencing guidelines typically allow for less time. The indictment described him as a senior adviser to his brother Benjamin.
"The sentence that Eduardo Arellano Felix received today marks the end of an era in cartel history. The AFO is finished, others have moved in and are attempting to take their place," William Sherman, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, said in a statement.
The Arellano Felix organization controlled the drug trade from its base in Tijuana, south of San Diego, between 1986 and 2002. At the height of its power in the 1990s, the cartel smuggled hundreds of millions of dollars in narcotics through a 100-mile-wide corridor stretching from Tijuana to Mexicali, south of Calexico, California.
The brothers gained an added measure of notoriety when the Tijuana cartel and its battle with the rival Juarez cartel were dramatized in the 2000 film "Traffic," which earned four Oscars.
Benjamin Arellano Felix, described by U.S. and Mexican authorities as the cartel's mastermind, was sentenced to 25 years in U.S. prison last year after being extradited from Mexico, where he was arrested in 2002. Ramon Arellano Felix, the cartel's top enforcer, was killed in a shootout with Mexican authorities in 2002.
Eduardo Arellano Félix, long considered the financial brains was presented to the court to hear his sentence,wearing the orange uniform used by prisoners and greeted smiling at his attorney Bryan Funk.
Earlier, the lawyer made a couple of requests to Judge Larry Burns that his client is not associated with the name of his brother Ramón, since some documents identified him as "Eduardo Ramon." He even claimed that he has the birth certificate to verify the name of his client.
The other request is that they include the title of doctor as it is his course of study as well as his nickname. During the hearing, Eduardo Arellano accepted his guilt, as he had agreed to and asked the judge to be moved to the same prison in Florida as his brother Benjamin, so they can serve out their sentences. He said, "I want to respect the deal I signed. I will fulfill my time and I want to ask that you send me to be with my brother Benjamin."
However, the request will have to be evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. his lawyer, Bryan Funk explained the situation in an interview at the end of the hearing.
Before sentencing, Judge Larry Burns said he was aware that the role of Eduardo Arellano was lower in the criminal organization, but that does not diminish the responsibility to operate in a criminal group that "caused negative effects" on society."So you should be ashamed. I said the same thing to your brother when I dictated his sentence," said the judge.Judge Burns added that once El Doctor, serves his sentence, he will be deported to Mexico .He asked once his sentence is complete and after his eventual deportation that he "not return" to the United States and warned about the consequences of participating again in organized crime activities, but said, "you'll pay dearly for that."
Bryan Funk expressed satisfaction with the sentence and stressed his client's greatest desire is to be with his brother Benjamin."He has not seen his brother in 20 years, wants to be with his family during the time in which he serves his sentence,"
His statement included that Eduardo Arellano Félix pleaded guilty in May, after reaching an agreement with the U.S. authorities. For the DEA in San Diego, this action was seen as "the final nail in the coffin" of the Arellano Felix cartel, since El Doctor was the last of his brothers to be tried. Eduardo Arellano was arrested in October 2008 in Tijuana and extradited to the United States on August 31 last year.
On August 24, 2006, Francisco Javier, El Tigrillo, was caught at sea off coast of Baja California Sur and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in San Diego on November 6, 2007.The eldest brother, Francisco Rafael, was extradited to San Diego in September 2006 after spending 10 years in a prison in Mexico. He was the first major Mexican drug lord to be extradited to the United States.Ramon-included in the list of "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" (The ten most wanted criminals) by the FBI, was killed in Sinaloa during a clash with federal forces on September 18, 1997.
Benjamin Arellano Felix benefited in January 2012 from the protection of the authorities in the United States.Fifteen years after being named as one of the most wanted criminals in the country, the Federal Court of the Southern District of California agreed to reduce his sentence to just 25 years in exchange for three conditions:
1) accept that he was the leader of the Tijuana cartel and that he committed crimes of conspiracy and money laundering. The remaining offenses were eliminated;
2) transfer to U.S. government property, assets, accounts, financial instruments and various products amounting to 100 million dollars, and
3) cooperate unconditionally with the U.S. authorities in investigation and incrimination of other members of organized crime to be arrested, investigated and prosecuted in the future.
With this, the boss of one of the most powerful and bloody cartels in the last 25 years avoided a longer sentence, which could have been 40 to 140 years, thanks to which he could potentially come out of prison when he is 83. When his term expires, in 2037, Benjamin Arellano will have to be repatriated to Mexico, where they reactivated the proceedings still pending, as in the case file/ arrest warrant against him for the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas y Ocampo that occurred in May 1993 at the Guadalajara airport.
Sources: Proceso, Reuters
Monday, August 19, 2013
Eduardo Arellano Félix, El Doctor, Sentenced to 15 years in Prison
I'm an artist who devotes as much spare time as possible to studying the complexities of the drug war facing Mexico and the USA. It is essential to spread the word about the plight of Mexico, so I frequently post on Borderland Beat. It's true that there are many others devoted to the cause. But more people should care because such suffering should never go unnoticed and ignored. Allowing that to happen is perhaps the biggest crime of all. Feel free to email me. Adios HavanaPura@Gmail.com