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Mexico: Leader of Tijuana drug cartel arrested

Soldiers arrested a leader of the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel after a shootout in a middle-class neighborhood of the border city across from San Diego, Mexico's Defense Department announced Sunday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Soldiers arrested a leader of the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel after a shootout in a middle-class neighborhood of the border city across from San Diego, Mexico's Defense Department announced Sunday.

Eduardo Arellano Felix was captured Saturday night together with his daughter. The U.S. State Department once offered $5 million for his capture.

Mexican authorities say Arellano Felix and his sister Enedina Arellano Felix took over the drug clan's leadership after several of their brothers were arrested or killed.

Tijuana, once clearly the gang's home turf, has become a focal point of soaring violence between rival organized crime groups and often outgunned authorities.

The Arellano Felix cartel emerged in the 1980s as a drug trafficking powerhouse across the U.S. border from San Diego but has been weakened in recent years as leaders were killed or captured.

In 2006, Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was captured on a fishing boat by the U.S. Coast Guard in international waters off the coast of southern Baja California.

A huge blow was dealt to the gang in 2002 with the arrest of Benjamin Arellano Felix, reputedly the planning chief of the gang, and the killing of Ramon Arellano Felix, the group’s feared enforcer.

President Felipe Calderon has come under criticism for a surge in homicides and kidnappings, even as thousands of soldiers and federal police fight drug gangs across the country.

Calderon's administration also has focused on extraditing suspected traffickers to the United States, a move that U.S. anti-drug officials have praised.

However, a Mexican judge in July blocked the extradition to the U.S. of Benjamin Arellano Felix until a court can rule on the legality of the government's extradition order.