Tijuana Drug King Rapped for Racketeering

By Valerie Tejeda 01/05/12

The former boss of the Tijuana cartel pleads guilty in a US federal court.

Benjamin Arellano Felix: guilty as charged
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In an effort to avoid a life sentence in prison, former drug king Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and money laundering charges in a San Diego federal court yesterday. Arellano Felix—ex-leader of Mexico's Tijuana drug cartel—was initially arrested in Mexico back in 2002 after 16 years of transforming Tijuana into a major trafficking gateway into the US. In his plea agreement, he admitted responsibility for smuggling tons of cocaine as well as marijuana into California, and making millions of dollars to fuel a criminal empire. "Arellano Felix led the most violent criminal organization in this part of the world for two decades," US Attorney Laura Duffy says. "Today's guilty plea marks the end of his reign of murder, mayhem and corruption, and his historic admission of guilt sends a clear message to the Mexican cartel leaders operating today: the United States will spare no effort to investigate, extradite, and prosecute you for your criminal activities." Arellano Felix was extradited from Mexico in April 2011, and under federal agreement can be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.