Former drug kingpin pleads guilty to racketeering, conspiracy
Former drug kingpin Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal racketeering and conspiracy charges, marking the end of a decade-old case targeting what once was Mexico’s most powerful organized crime group.
Arellano Felix, 58, the former leader of the Arellano Felix drug cartel, transformed Tijuana into a major drug trafficking corridor into the U.S.
During his 16-year reign, the cartel poured tons of drugs into California, generating profits that were used for bribes and to equip squads of assassins with high-powered weapons.
According to a plea agreement with prosecutors, Arellano Felix admitted that the organization he headed generated at least hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, exchanged weapons for drugs from a rebel group in Colombia, and trained bodyguards to assasinate rival traffickers and potential witnesses.
Arellano Felix, who was extradited in April, faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, according to the plea agreement.
A sentencing hearing for Arellano Felix is scheduled in April.
-- Richard Marosi in San Diego
Photo: Benjamin Arellano Felix
Credit: Associated Press