“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
|Eduardo Arellano Félix, former leader of the Tijuana Cartel, is in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) in proceedings to be deported to Mexico.|
On August 18, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) confirmed that Eduardo Arellano Félix, “El Doctor” was no longer in their custody and had been released from a federal prison in Pennsylvania. On the same day, ICE agents arrested the 63-year-old kingpin through the Division of Law Enforcement and Deportation Operations. BOP records indicate that the kingpin was indeed released from the low-security prison.
Previously, the Mexican Foreign Ministry assured that the Doctor would not return to Mexico, because his procedural status was changed, as reported by Borderland Beat. Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Relations, said that the former criminal leader could be a protected witness and would cooperate with the United States authorities, for which his whereabouts would be unknown. But with the ICE reports, everything indicates that this will not be the case.
“His status was changed. The United States does not have to tell us why, but what we assume or presume is that the witness status has changed, it is most likely, but we are going to verify it today. In other words, he will not be deported to Mexico on Wednesday,” said the minister at the morning conference of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on August 17.
Arellano Félix was being held at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex in Pennsylvania under registration number 04117-748. The last of the male brothers who led the Tijuana Cartel spent 13 years behind bars, after his arrest in Tijuana on October 26, 2008, in a fierce confrontation involving agents of the Army and the Federal Police.
Official reports indicated that, after the fall of his brother, Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, El Tigrillo, in 2006, El Doctor became the leader of the Tijuana Cartel together with his nephew, Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano, son of Enedina Arellano Felix. When he was detained in the Misiones del Pedregal neighborhood, Eduardo Arellano Félix had an arsenal in his possession and was accompanied by an 11-year-old girl, his daughter. In front of the officers, he identified himself as Samuel Berramontes Flores.
In Mexico, he has no pending accounts with the justice and no arrest warrant was against him for crimes against health, despite the fact that he was wanted in more than 180 countries since 2004, due to a file in Interpol. Eduardo Arellano Félix was extradited to the United States in September 2012, after four years in the maximum-security prison of Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico. The reward for information leading to his arrest was $5 million.
After being indicted and reaching a plea agreement with authorities of the San Diego district court, El Doctor was sentenced on August 19, 2013, to 15 years behind bars. Authorities agreed to seize $50 million from him. He pleaded guilty to laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for the Arellano Felix Cartel derived from drug trafficking proceeds; in addition to a charge for conspiring and investing the money for the benefit of the criminal organization that bears his last name.
Those 15 years that were imposed on him were far from the 140 to which he could have received if they included crimes by organized crime, as well as trafficking of marijuana and cocaine to the United States.
El Doctor formed the so-called Tijuana Cartel together with his brothers around 1986, to traffic drugs to the United States, supported by gangs from San Diego. The peak of its power was in the 1990s when the group smuggled hundreds of millions of dollars from Tijuana to Mexicali.
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