Francisco Javier Arellano Félix

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Francisco Javier Arellano Félix
Francisco arrested by the DEA.jpg
Born (1969-12-11) December 11, 1969 (age 49)
Criminal chargeOrganized crime, money laundering
PenaltyLife Sentence reduced to 23 1/2 years imprisonment

Francisco Javier Arellano Félix (born 11 December 1969), the brother of Ramón Arellano Félix, is a former Mexican drug lord and leader of the Tijuana Cartel involved in drug-smuggling operations from Mexico to the United States.

The Tijuana Cartel is one of the three large Mexican drug cartels, along with the Gulf Cartel and the Juárez Cartel. It is well known for its employment of enforcers recruited from Mexican and Los Angeles street gangs. In addition to enforcers, many Latin American street gangsters were trained to become assassins in the cartel, which has a reputation for extreme brutality and violence. At its height in the late 1990s, the cartel was believed to be responsible for supplying nearly half the cocaine sold in the United States.

The gang made headlines in January 2006 after it was discovered they had dug tunnels from Tijuana, Baja California, into the United States at Otay Mesa, California.

Kingpin Act sanction[edit]

On 1 June 2004, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Arellano Félix under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the "Kingpin Act"), for his involvement in drug trafficking along with nine other international criminals and two entities.[1] The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with him, and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S.[2]

Capture and prosecution[edit]

Arellano Félix, nicknamed "El Tigrillo" (Little Tiger) and also "El Titi", was captured by the coastguardsmen aboard the USCGC Monsoon on August 16, 2006, while fishing on the Dock Holiday some 25 km off the coast of Baja California Sur, in international waters. Arellano was brought into United States Coast Guard Sector San Diego by USCG Cutter Petrel, Commanded by Master Chief Petty Officer M. Martin. The Drug Enforcement Administration had received a tip about his whereabouts. A US$5 million bounty had been offered for his capture, but the information leading to his capture was apparently not from someone seeking the reward.[3] On November 5, 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in September 2007 to running a criminal enterprise and laundering money. According to his lawyer there have been preparations to send him to the supermax ADX Florence, but the final decision where he will be housed rests with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP).[4][5]

In June 2015, Arellano Félix's sentence was reduced to 23 1/2 years for cooperation with authorities during his incarceration.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DESIGNATIONS PURSUANT TO THE FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATION ACT" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 15 May 2014. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  2. ^ "An overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  3. ^ Onell R. Soto (2006-08-18). "Planning, persistence paid off". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  4. ^ Elliot Spagat (2007-09-17). "Mexican drug lord pleads guilty". USAtoday. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  5. ^ CBSnews (2007-11-05). "Mexican Drug Lord Gets Life In Prison - CBS News". CBSnews. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  6. ^ Moran, Greg. "Cartel leader's help earns cut in sentence". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2015-12-27.

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