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Top Leadership of Arrellano-Felix Drug Trafficking Organization Indicted

07/09/03

On July 8, 2003, a task force of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies effectively struck at the hart of one of the most vicious drug trafficking organization in the world. Today's RICO indictment names eleven top leaders of Arrellano-Felix organization and chronicles its crimes along the ports of entry along the California-Mexico border -- crimes of drug trafficking, violence, and bribery that led to hundreds of deaths in Mexico and that spilled over into southern California. The indictment also presents evidence of a relationship between the drug traffickers and Columbia's terrorist Revolutionary Armed forces (FARC) that traded firearms for Columbian cocaine. The FBI has been investigation the Arrellano-Felix organization (AFO) for over 10 years and placed it on its National Priority Target List in 1998. It is currently pursuing AFO cases with its law enforcement partners in 33 of its 56 field divisions.

This particular investigation in the San Diego area has taken place over a 7-year period through the efforts of a special law enforcement task force that includes DEA, the U.S. Custom's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, IRS, San Diego PD, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the Chula Vista PD, and the FBI. Many other DEA and FBI offices contributed to the case, and the Government of Mexico lent superb assistance, prodding witnesses who were in Mexican custody. FBI Deputy Director Bruce Gebhardt said about the case, "The FBI remains committed to fighting violent, corrupt drug traffickers and committed to destroying transnational drug enterprises. I think today's announcements who that the unprecedented level of cooperation we have today is paying off."

This same task force was earlier responsible for four indictments of the AFO, including the charging of Benjamin Arellano-Felix (arrested by the Mexican military on 3/9/2002), and Higuera-Guerrero (arrested in Mexico on 5/3/2000). The FBI Laboratory confirmed the identity of deceased Ramon Arellano-Felix through DNA testing.