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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 04:18 GMT 05:18 UK
Life in jail for Mexico drugs man
Francisco Arellano-Felix under arrest in San Diego
Arellano-Felix faces life in prison without parole
A member of Mexico's infamous Tijuana drugs cartel has pleaded guilty in a US court to running a smuggling ring.

Francisco Arellano Felix, 39, will get a life sentence after admitting his role in running a criminal enterprise and conspiracy to launder money.

He was arrested by the US Coast Guard while fishing in international waters.

Arellano Felix is one of several brothers, known for their extreme violence, who ran the Tijuana cartel from the late 1980s until 2002.

According to the US authorities, Arellano Felix, known as El Tigrillo (Little Tiger) was the head of the Tijuana cartel which has been blamed for murdering police officers, informants and rival drug traffickers.

The group is known for distributing illegal drugs, much of it cocaine, from Colombia to California.

According to the prosecutors, the cartel recruited, trained and armed groups of bodyguards and assassins.

Arellano Felix pleaded guilty in a deal with the authorities after officials said they would not seek the death penalty.

He also agreed to forfeit $50m he made from his drugs empire as well as a 13-metre (43-foot) yacht as part of the plea agreement.

He will serve life in jail without the possibility of parole.

A co-defendant, Manual Arturo Villareal Heredia, 31, also pleaded guilty to racketeering and using drugs profits.

He faces up to 30 years in prison, and has agreed to forfeit $5m.

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