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Friday, April 29, 2011

Mexico extradites once-powerful drug lord to US

Mexico extradited the once-powerful drug lord Benjamin Arellano Felix to the United States in a renewed sign of US-Mexican cooperation in the drug fight.

Arellano Felix was head of the powerful Tijuana cartel and operated on the Mexico-US border near San Diego, California until his capture in Mexico in early 2002.

He faces charges in the United States of smuggling tonnes of cocaine into California in the 1990s.

Serving a sentence in Mexico on organized crime charges, he was due to be extradited in 2008, but a Mexican federal judge blocked that ruling. The injunction was overturned in April last year.

Mexico's attorney general's office said in a statement that Arellano Felix was handed over to US agents at an airport outside of Mexico City.

It was not immediately clear what sentence he might face in the United States if convicted.

Former Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas, who was extradited to the United States by Mexico in 2007, is serving a 25-year sentence in Texas without chance of parole.

The Tijuana cartel, also known as the Arellano Felix gang, is a shadow of its former self after the death and capture of many of its leaders over the past decade.

The Sinaloa cartel run by Mexico's most-wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, has largely taken over its turf.

A nephew of the brothers, Fernando Sanchez Arellano, has emerged as the Tijuana cartel's leader, but his power is limited to collaborating with the Sinaloans, US and Mexican drug trade experts say.

Friday's extradition is not expected to influence the drug war that is raging in Mexico, in which 37,000 people have died since late 2006, but it does reflect Mexican and US efforts to continue to work together.

Tensions over the conflict boiled over last month when US Ambassador Carlos Pascual said he would step down after weeks of pressure from the Mexican government.

President Felipe Calderón, under pressure in Mexico over his security strategy, has become embroiled in a war of words with Washington over US demand for narcotics.

US officials have countered saying the Mexican government is not doing enough to clean up endemic corruption in its police and courts that feed the violence.

 

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Tags:  mexico  us  united states  feliz  drug lord  sinaloa  





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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia