Benjamín Arellano Félix
|Benjamín Arellano Félix|
March 12, 1952 |
Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico
|Other names||El Min|
|Occupation||Tijuana Cartel leader|
|Criminal charge||Drug trafficking, money laundering, murder|
|Criminal penalty||25 years in a US federal prison + 22 years in a Mexican prison|
|Criminal status||Arrested in March, 2002|
Benjamín Arellano Félix, who worked closely with his brothers, was one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords and the supplier of a third of U.S.A.'s cocaine. Benjamín had six brothers:
- Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix (born 24 October 1949) - Shot dead by gunmen disguised as clowns at child's party on October 18, 2013.
- Carlos Arellano Félix (believed to be born 20 August 1955) is not currently wanted.
- Eduardo Arellano Félix (born 11 October 1956), - Captured in 2008.
- Ramón Eduardo Arellano Félix (born 31 August 1964) - Deceased, shot by police in 2002.
- Luis Fernando Arellano Félix (believed to be born 26 January 1966) is not currently wanted.
- Francisco Javier Arellano Félix (born 11 December 1969) - Captured in 2006.
Benjamín was first arrested on June 18, 1982 in Downey, California for receiving 100 kilos of cocaine smuggled through the San Ysidro border, however, he escaped custody. The Arellano Félix brothers obtained their first big break in 1989 when they inherited the organization from Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo after they showed early promise smuggling consumer electronics over the border. By 1998, the Arellano brothers had been indicted in the U.S. for drug trafficking and his brother Ramón was put on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.
Despite the brothers' audacity, they remained untouchable for 13 years. This was done, in part, with large amounts of cash, bribing Mexican politicians and police commanders, at the cost of an estimated $1m USD per week.
Benjamín Arellano tried to clear his name after the 1993 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, in which he had been implicated. That high-profile assassination brought international attention to his trafficking organization and though, this forced Benjamín to lie low and adopt false names, he continued to live in casual confidence, apparently unafraid of capture. Another of Benjamin's brothers, Francisco, was arrested soon after on drug charges and Benjamín, Ramón and Javier officially became fugitives.
Kingpin Act sanction
On 1 June 2000, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Benjamín under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the "Kingpin Act"), for his involvement in drug trafficking along with eleven other international criminals. The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with him, and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S.
The U.S. DEA learned that Benjamín's oldest daughter had a very recognizable and rare facial deformity and that she was the "soft spot" in her father's violent life. By tracing her, they found her father. Benjamin was arrested on March 9, 2002 by the Mexican Army in the state of Puebla, Mexico. He had a $2 million USD bounty for his arrest. Authorities are not sure where Arellano's money went, beyond some real estate investments in Tijuana. Mexican officials say it has been invested in U.S. real estate, while their U.S. counterparts say much of it is hidden in cash in Mexico. He was extradited to the United States in April 29, 2011 to face charges of trafficking cocaine into California. On January 4, 2012 Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to launder money, and was sentenced to 25 years in jail on April 2, 2012. Once that is served, he will be sent back to Mexico to finish another 22 years for a conviction there.
- PHOTO of Benjamín Arellano Félix.
(From: "Arellano Felix se declara culpable en los Estados Unidos." Source: Narcotrafico en Mexico. Retrieved 11 March 2012.)
- Blocked Persons, Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers: Additional Designations and Removals and Supplementary Information on Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers, Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Department of the Treasury. Foreign Assets Control Office. Federal Register. 4 December 2000. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Julian Borger; Jo Tuckman (15 March 2002). "Blood brothers". The Guardian (Cocaine.org). Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Alexander, Harriet (20 October 2013). "Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix: Head of Tijuana Cartel shot dead by clown gunmen". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Members of the Arellano-Felix Organization
- How Officials Jolted a Cocaine Cartel ABC News, September 28, 2002.
- "DESIGNATIONS PURSUANT TO THE FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATION ACT" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 15 May 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "An overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "DEA CONFIRMS CAPTURE OF BENJAMIN ARELLANO-FELIX". U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. March 9, 2002. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "Mexico home to record 1,400 drug-related deaths in April". Infosur Hoy. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- "Mexican drug lord who smuggled tons of cocaine into the U.S. and dissolved enemies in vats of caustic soda gets 25 years in jail in plea bargain". Mail Online. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- Which cartel is king in Mexico?