Mexico drug lord Arellano sentenced to 25 years in US prison
Apr 2, 2012, 19:21 GMT
Los Angeles - The one-time boss of a Mexican drug cartel was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison, according to US media reports.
A federal court in San Diego, California, issued the sentence against Benjamin Arellano Felix, 58, who pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking, organized crime and money laundering, the newspaper San Diego Union Tribune reported online.
The sentencing comes a year after Arellano Felix was extradited from Mexico to stand trial in the United States.
The one-time chief of the Tijuana cartel during the organization's heyday, Arellano Felix was jailed since 2002 in Mexico before his extradition. Arellano had asked the judge for credit for the nine years he already served in Mexico.
'A 25-year sentence is completely justified,' US District Judge Larry Burns was quoted as answering. 'If I had it within my powers, I would impose a longer sentence.'
The sentence was seen as relatively light, compared to the life sentences some of his brothers are serving in Mexico.
The Arellano brothers operated a powerful drug cartel in north-western MExico which smuggled large quantities of cocaine and other illegal drugs into the United States. Hundreds of murders were blamed on the gang. After the arrest of Benjamin Arellano Felix, the cartel lost influence to other competing gangs. dpa mub pr Author: Barbara Munker
The Mexican Attorney General's Office said he 'was considered the operational and financial leader of the Arellano Felix organization.' Arellano Felix, known by the nicknames 'Licenciado Alegria' or 'El Senor,' had exausted his lengthy appeals to avoid extradition. He is to be tried in a federal court in California on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.
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