Ma­jor bust: Mex­i­can na­tional in­dicted on drug king­pin charges in Calif.

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

A Mex­i­can de­scribed by U.S. au­thor­i­ties as “one of the world’s ma­jor drug traf­fick­ers” has been in­dicted by a fed­eral grand jury in Cal­i­for­nia on rack­e­teer­ing, drug traf­fick­ing and money laun­der­ing charges that carry the death penalty.

U.S. At­tor­ney Carol C. Lam in San Diego said the in­dict­ment, un­sealed on Dec. 20, ac­cuses Fran­cisco Javier Arel­lano-Felix of six counts of op­er­at­ing a con­tin­u­ing crim­i­nal en­ter­prise, which dom­i­nated the Mex­i­can drug trade for more than a decade and flooded the United States with hun­dreds of tons of co­caine, mar­i­juana, metham­phetamine and heroin.

The in­dict­ment ac­cuses Arel- lano-Felix of main­tain­ing con­trol of his drug traf­fick­ing em­pire by per­son­ally or­der­ing kid­nap­pings and up to 20 slay­ings, in­clud­ing be­head­ings, of ri­vals in the drug trade, law-en­force­ment of­fi­cers and mem­bers of the press.

Arel­lano-Felix, who also over­saw the con­struc­tion of so­phis­ti­cated tun­nels to smug­gle drugs un­der the U.S.-Mex­ico border, was ar­rested in Au­gust by U.S. au­thor­i­ties while deep-sea fish­ing and is now in cus­tody in San Diego. The U.S. Coast Guard ap­pre­hended him aboard a boat known as the “Dock Hol­i­day,” 15 miles off the shore of La Paz, Mex­ico.

An ear­lier in­dict­ment that sought his ex­tra­di­tion in 2003 did not in­clude the charges that could lead to his ex­e­cu­tion and is ex­pected to be dis­missed as moot. Mex­ico has balked at ex­tra­dit­ing those fac­ing a pos­si­ble death sen­tence in this coun­try.

U.S. Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion (DEA) spokesman Rusty Payne said a de­ci­sion whether to seek the death penalty will be made by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Al­berto R. Gon­za­les at a later date.

Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Paul J. McNulty has de­scribed Arel­lano-Felix, 37, as “one of the world’s ma­jor drug traf­fick­ers,” cit­ing his role as a leader of a bru­tal in­ter­na­tional drug gang that in­cludes seven brothers and four sis­ters.

Mr. McNulty said the Arel­lano-Felix or­ga­ni­za­tion ne­go­ti­ated di­rectly with Colom­bian co­caine-traf­fick­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia for the pur­chase of mul­ti­ton ship­ments of co­caine, re­ceived those ship­ments by sea and air in Mex­ico, and then ar­ranged for smug­gling the co­caine into the U.S.

Also in­dicted was Manuel Ar­turo Vil­lar­real Heredia, 31, de­scribed as a hired as­sas­sin for the Arel­lano-Felix or­ga­ni­za­tion. He also was taken into cus­tody on the fish­ing boat and is held in San Diego.

The in­dict­ment de­scribes Arel­lano-Felix as the gang’s prin­ci­pal or­ga­nizer and top leader since March 2000, and Vil­lar­real as one of its top six un­der-bosses, in com­mand of crews that car­ried out en­force­ment op­er­a­tions and drug traf­fick­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

It names Arel­lano-Felix and Vil­lar­real in con­nec­tion with the 2005 killing of Deputy Po­lice Chief Hugo Gabrial Coronel Var­gas in Ti­juana, Mex­ico, and the kid­nap­ping, slay­ing and be­head­ing of three Rosar­ito Beach po­lice of­fi­cers in June 2006.

Arel­lano-Felix also was charged in Mex­ico in 1993 with con­spir­ing to as­sas­si­nate Ro­man Catholic Car­di­nal Juan Posadas Ocampo. Car­di­nal Posadas Ocampo, along with six other per­sons, was as­sas­si­nated on May 24, 1993, in the park­ing lot at Guadala­jara In­ter­na­tional Air­port. He was shot 14 times.

In Jan­uary, fed­eral agents lo­cated a 2,400-foot-long tun­nel built by the Ti­juana-based Arel­lano-Felix or­ga­ni­za­tion, filled with 2 tons of mar­i­juana and con­nect­ing ware­houses in Ti­juana to San Diego.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.