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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Mexican drugs boss gets 22 years
Benjamin Arellano Felix in a file photo
Benjamin Arellano Felix: Part of a ruthless drugs family
A Mexican judge has sentenced a jailed leader of the notorious Tijuana drugs gang to a further 22 years in prison for trafficking and organised crime.

Benjamin Arellano Felix, who was arrested in 2002, is already serving five years on weapons charges.

He is one of several brothers, known for their extreme violence, who ran the Tijuana cartel, smuggling drugs into the US from the late 1980s until 2002.

The gang has been weakened but is still operating, mainly in north-west Mexico.

"Benjamin Arellano Felix, boss of one of the most violent organised crime and drugs gangs on an international scale, was given a 22-year jail sentence," Mexico's attorney general's office said.

Arellano Felix, who is being held in a maximum security prison outside Mexico City, was sentenced to more than five years in prison on weapons possession charges in April.

The latest sentence is to be added to his term.

He operated the Tijuana-based cartel with his brother Ramon, who was killed in a shootout with police in early 2002. Benjamin was arrested shortly afterwards.

Brothers

US authorities are seeking his extradition to face money-laundering and drug-trafficking charges.

Two of his brothers, Francisco Javier and Francisco Rafael, are being held in the US on drugs charges.

A fifth brother, Francisco Eduardo, is at large.

The remaining members of the Tijuana cartel are thought to have joined a loose alliance with another gang, the Gulf Cartel, as part of turf wars among Mexico's drug traffickers.

Fighting between Mexico's drugs gangs is believed to be behind more than 1,000 killings so far this year.

The rising drug-related violence has led President Felipe Caldron to send troops to several Mexican states to help police to tackle the traffickers.




SEE ALSO
Mexico police seize 'cartel head'
03 Apr 07 |  Americas
Notes pinned to Mexican corpses
22 Mar 07 |  Americas
Tijuana police get weapons back
28 Jan 07 |  Americas
Mexico troops sent to border city
03 Jan 07 |  Americas
US holds top Mexico drug suspect
17 Aug 06 |  Americas

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