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  HOME | Mexico

Tests Confirm Suspect Is Leader of Mexico’s Tijuana Cartel
DNA tests confirmed that the suspect’s “genetic profile shows a biological parental link to the Arellano Felix family,” the AG’s office said in a statement

MEXICO CITY – DNA and physical tests performed by Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency confirmed that a man arrested earlier this week is Fernando Sanchez Arellano, the suspected leader of the Tijuana drug cartel, the Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday.

DNA tests confirmed that the suspect’s “genetic profile shows a biological parental link to the Arellano Felix family,” the AG’s office said in a statement.

The Tijuana cartel was founded by the Arellano Felix brothers.

The results from the DNA test on Sanchez Arellano were compared with the genetic profiles of brothers Ramon, Benjamin and Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix in the CODIS national DNA database, the AG’s office said.

A physical analysis concluded that “there is dimensional and morphological correspondence with the facial characteristics” of the suspect and photos of Sanchez Arellano posted on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, the AG’s office said.

Sanchez Arellano, known as “El Ingeniero” (The Engineer), was detained by army troops Monday in the northwestern border city of Tijuana.

No shots were fired during the military operation, officials said.

The DEA identified Sanchez Arellano in 2009 as a member of a “new generation” of bosses of the Arellano Felix criminal organization.

Sanchez Arellano took over the leadership of the Tijuana drug cartel in 2010 following the arrest of Eduardo Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo.”

Garcia Simental and Sanchez Arellano fought for control of the gang after the October 2008 arrest in Tijuana of Eduardo Arellano Felix, the last of the Arellano Felix brothers to be captured.

Sanchez Arellano is the nephew of Benjamin, Eduardo, Francisco Javier, Francisco Rafael and Ramon Arellano Felix, all of whom have been arrested or killed in recent years.

Benjamin Arellano was arrested in 2002 in Mexico and extradited nine years later to the United States, where he was wanted on drug charges.

The leadership of the cartel, which enjoyed a monopoly over the smuggling of drugs through Tijuana for more than 20 years, began to fall apart following the killing of Ramon Arellano Felix, the criminal organization’s top enforcer, in a shootout in Sinaloa state.

Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, one of the cartel’s other bosses, is serving a life sentence after being captured by the U.S. Coast Guard while fishing in 2006.

Eduardo Arellano Felix was arrested in October 2008 after a shootout with Tijuana police and extradited to the United States.

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, who was arrested in Mexico in 1993 and extradited to the United States, was released from prison in 2008.

He was gunned down last October at a party in the resort city of Los Cabos.

The Tijuana cartel mainly operates in four cities in Baja California state, smuggling drugs, running extortion rackets, staging kidnappings and committing murders, the government said.

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