Benjamín Arellano Félix
Benjamín Arellano Félix
|Born||March 12, 1952|
|Other names||El Min|
|Occupation||Tijuana Cartel leader|
|Criminal status||Arrested in March, 2002, due to be out by March, 2027|
|Criminal charge||Drug trafficking, money laundering, murder|
|Penalty||25 years in a US federal prison|
Benjamín Arellano Félix, who worked closely with his brothers, was one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords and the supplier of one-third of the U.S.'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 18 October 2013.
- Carlos Arellano Félix (believed to have been born 20 August 1955) is not currently wanted.
- Eduardo Arellano Félix (born 11 October 1956) – Captured in 2008.
- Ramón Arellano Félix (born 31 August 1964) – Shot dead by police in 2002; this was a cover though, as Joaquín Guzmán Loera, AKA "el Chapo" gave orders to several of his men to murder him during the Mazatlán carnival.
- Luis Fernando Arellano Félix (believed to have been born 26 January 1966) is not currently wanted.
- Francisco Javier Arellano Félix (born 11 December 1969) – Captured in 2006.
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 U.S.–Mexico border. By 1998, the Arellano brothers had been indicted in the U.S. for drug trafficking, and Ramón had been put on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
Despite the brothers' audacity, they remained untouchable for 13 years. This was accomplished, in part, with large amounts of cash bribes to Mexican politicians and police commanders, at the cost of an estimated US$1 million per week.
Benjamín Arellano tried to clear his name after the 1993 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, in which he had been implicated. That high-profile assassination brought international attention to his trafficking organization and, although this forced Benjamín to lie low and adopt false names, he continued to live in casual confidence, apparently unafraid of capture. He had a secret meeting with the Apostolic Nunciature to Mexico, Girolamo Prigione on December 1, 1993. Another of Benjamin's brothers, Francisco, was arrested soon afterward 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 9 March 2002 by the Mexican Army in the state of Puebla, Mexico. He had a US$2 million bounty for his arrest.
Authorities are not sure where Benjamin'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.
Benjamin was extradited to the United States in 29 April 2011 to face charges of trafficking cocaine into California. On January 4, 2012 he pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to launder money, and was sentenced to 25 years in jail on 2 April 2012.
In popular culture
He was portrayed by Alfonso Dosal in the 2018 Netflix series Narcos: Mexico.
- 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.
- "The Business – Arellano-Felix Cartel – Drug Wars". Frontline. PBS. Archived from the original on 2012-11-13.
- "How Officials Jolted a Cocaine Cartel". Nightline. ABC News. September 28, 2002.
- Fallece sacerdote que reunió a los Arellano Felix con Prigione [Priest who arranged renunion of Arellano-Felix brothers and Prigione dies] (in Spanish), Proceso, January 13, 2010, retrieved June 1, 2019
- "DESIGNATIONS PURSUANT TO THE FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATION ACT" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 15 May 2014. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2013. 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. Archived from the original on August 9, 2012. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Fieser, Ezra (4 May 2011). "Mexico home to record 1,400 drug-related deaths in April". Infosur Hoy. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- Gilani, Nadia (5 January 2012). "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. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "Which cartel is king in Mexico?". globalpost.com.
- Unidad Editorial. "El museo del narco mexicano". El Mundo.
- "Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator ID:00678-748". US Department of Justice. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- PHOTO of Benjamín Arellano Félix.
(From: "Arellano Felix se declara culpable en los Estados Unidos." Source: Narcotrafico en Mexico. Retrieved 11 March 2012.)