Benjamin Arrellano-Felix

Benjamin Arellano Felix

Benjamín Arellano Félix
(born 12 March 1952) is a Mexican drug trafficker and former leader of the Mexican criminal organization known as The Tijuana Cartel or 'Arellano-Félix Organization'. He served as Boss of the Tijuana Cartel along with his brother Ramon Arellano Felix who was the Underboss of the Tijuana Cartel. Benjamin was a mild mannered business orientated leader whereas Ramon was the violent, muscle orientated leader.


Benjamín Arellano Félix, who worked closely with his brothers, was one of Mexico's most powerful drug lords and the supplier of a third of U.S.A.'s cocaine. Benjamín had six brothers:

  • Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix (born 24 October 1949) - Captured and released
  • Carlos Arellano Félix (believed to be born 20 August 1955)
  • Eduardo Arellano Félix (born 11 October 1956), - Captured
  • Ramon Arellano Felix (born 31 August 1964) - The Underboss of the Tijuana Cartel Deceased, shot by police in 2002.
  • Luis Fernando Arellano Félix (believed to be born 26 January 1966) is not currently wanted as he is a plastic surgeon not involved in drug trafficking.
  • Francisco Javier Arellano Félix (born 11 December 1969) - Captured

He also has four sisters, and Alicia and Enedina Arellano Félix are most active in the cartel's affairs.

Benjamín was first arrested on June 18, 1982 in Downey, California for receiving 100 kilos of cocaine smuggled through the San Ysidro border, however, he escaped custody. The Arellano Félix brothers obtained their first big break in 1989 when they inherited the organization from Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo after they showed early promise smuggling consumer electronics over the border. By 1998, the Arellano brothers had been indicted in the U.S. for drug trafficking and his brother Ramón was put on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.

Despite the brothers' audacity, they remained untouchable for 13 years. This was done, in part, with large amounts of cash, bribing Mexican politicians and police commanders, at the cost of an estimated $1m USD per week.

Benjamín Arellano tried to clear his name after the 1993 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, in which he had been implicated. That high-profile assassination brought international attention to his trafficking organization and though, this forced Benjamín to lie low and adopt false names, he continued to live i

The Assassination of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo.

n casual confidence, apparently unafraid of capture. Another of Benjamin's brothers, Francisco, was arrested soon after on drug charges and Benjamín, Ramon Arellano Felix and Javier officially became fugitives.


The U.S. DEA learned that Benjamín's oldest daughter had a very recognizable and rare facial deformity and that she was the "soft spot" in her father's violent life. By tracing her, they found her father. Benjamin was arrested on March 9, 2002 by the Mexican Army in the state of Puebla, Mexico. He had a $2 million USD bounty for his arrest. Authorities are not sure where Arellano's money went, beyond some real estate investments in Tijuana. Mexican officials say it has been invested in U.S. real estate, while their U.S. counterparts say much of it is hidden in cash in Mexico. He was extradited to the United States in April 29, 2011 to face charges of trafficking cocaine into California. On January 4, 2012 Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to launder money, and was sentenced to 25 years in jail on April 2, 2012. Once that is served, he will be sent back to Mexico to finish another 22 years for a conviction there.