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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
March 9, 2002


photo - Benjamin Arellano-Felix
Benjamin Arellano-Felix

DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson confirmed this morning the capture of Benjamin Arellano-Felix by Mexican authorities in Puebla, Mexico. Benjamin, with brothers Ramon, Eduardo, Javier and Francisco head one of the largest, most violent drug trafficking organizations in the world. Ramon, the organization's chief enforcer, is believed to have been killed in a shoot-out with authorities in Mazatlan, Mexico on February 10.

Benjamin Arellano-Felix is considered the patriarch of the family and the leader of its drug-trafficking activities. Upon his arrest, Benjamin acknowledged to Mexican Authorities that his brother Ramon had, in fact, been killed in the February 10 incident. Benjamin is indicted out of the Southern District of California for cocaine trafficking and money laundering violations, and has been a priority of DEA and Mexican authorities since 1992. Recognizing the significance of this organization, Administrator Hutchinson personally organized a DEA Headquarters directed task force to exchange information and pool assets in order to aid in this effort. Benjamin's arrest will have a significant impact on the organization's ability to traffic cocaine into the U.S. and elsewhere.

"This is a great day for law enforcement, the Mexican Government, and citizens of the U.S.," said Administrator Hutchinson. "I am ecstatic with the Mexican Government's initiative and its continued cooperation with matters of such great importance. We will continue our cooperative efforts until all chief members of this notorious organization are brought to justice."

Administrator Hutchinson specifically recognized the efforts of Mexican Attorney's Office, the Mexican Military, the DEA, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office from the Southern District of California. The U.S. Government will pursue efforts to extradite Benjamin to the U.S. to stand charges.

For additional information, please contact DEA Public Affairs at 202-307-7977.

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