Photo: Arrellano Felix Organization
Alberto Benjamin Arellano-Felix, an alleged leader of the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO), was extradited by the government of Mexico to the United States to face racketeering, money laundering and narcotics trafficking charges in California.
Arellano-Felix was taken into custody by Mexican authorities in 2002. A final order of extradition to the United States was granted in 2007. After years of unsuccessful appeals, Arellano-Felix arrived in the United States Friday afternoon.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, whose office secured the indictment against Arellano-Felix, said that she was “extremely proud of the dedication and commitment that teams of people have demonstrated in bringing Arellano-Felix to answer, in an American court of law, to the very serious charges with which he is charged.” Duffy stated, “We are grateful to the Government of Mexico for its assistance in the extradition and have personally relayed our thanks to Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales.”
Long-reputed to be one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations, the AFO controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States. Its operations also extended into southern Mexico as well as Colombia. The indictment also alleges that the proceeds of the AFO’s drug trafficking, estimated by law enforcement to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, were then smuggled back into Mexico.
The indictment also alleges that the AFO recruited, trained and armed groups of bodyguards and assassins who were responsible for protecting the leaders of the organization, and also for conducting assassinations of rival drug traffickers, suspected cooperators, uncooperative Mexican law enforcement and military personnel, and members of the Mexican news media who printed stories unfavorable towards the AFO.