Alberto Benjamín Arellano Félix, was born on March 12, 1952, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Until his capture and extradition to the United States, he was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico.
He is one of eleven children (7 boys and 4 girls) of the marriage between Benjamín Arellano Sánchez and Alicia Félix Zazueta, all of them linked in one way or another to the family business, but especially Francisco, Ramón and Benjamín.
The large family had their home at 566 Miguel Hidalgo Street in Culiacán. Benjamín was attending primary school at the “Alvaro Obregón” school very close to his home, while his father was in charge of repairing vehicles.
In his spare time, Benjamin’s father sold chocolates and appliances smuggled from “El otro lado” (the other side), as the locals call the nation on the north bank of the Rio Bravo (United States).
The Arellano Felix brothers were well known in their native Culiacan, capital of the state of Sinaloa, for their jovial character and skills.
The business was prospering, so they allowed themselves to buy a house in one of the most exclusive areas of the city, where they changed their social circle and therefore established relationships with people with greater economic power, with other customs such as drug consumption.
¿How did Benjamín Arellano Félix get started in Drug Trafficking?
Benjamín started in the illegal world with his brothers by smuggling electronics and clothing, which they sold in their same neighborhood.
Thanks to this business, the Arellano Felix brothers would begin to make contacts with people from the mafia and through them begin their journey in drug trafficking, specifically with the sale of marijuana.
Benjamin Arellano Felix Moves to Tijuana
Later, Benjamin would meet Javier Caro Payan, who worked for Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo as a manager for the Tijuana area.
Payan recruits Benjamin and puts him to work for him, little by little each of his brothers followed in his footsteps.
It is also said that an uncle of the brothers named Jesús Labra, aka El Chuy, was one of the people responsible for opening the doors of Tijuana to Benjamin.
But it is not until the fall of the capo of capos, Miguel Angel Gallardo, that Benjamin and company become the lords and masters of the city, when they receive the command of the Tijuana Cartel.
Benjamín Arellano Félix is arrested for the First Time
Benjamin was first arrested on June 18, 1982, in Downey, California, delivering 100 kilos of cocaine, but using his personal relationship skills and ability to bribe officials, he managed to escape from police custody to go to his home country.
Second Arrest of Benjamin Arellano Felix
International pressure after the murder of Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo, in which Benjamin was involved, increased the interest of Mexican authorities in pursuing drug-related activities, so he was forced to change his identity and go into hiding.
Law enforcement agents investigating drug trafficking activities obtained information that Benjamin’s oldest daughter had a strange deformity on her face and that this was the weakness of the ruthless criminal.
With these data, they dedicated themselves to tracking her until they discovered that she was in Puebla, a city some 106 kilometers from the capital of the Mexican Republic, which is why they mounted the successful operation that culminated in her capture on March 9, 2002.
Many of the properties bought by Benjamin were seized by the judicial authorities to be later released since they could not prove that they were acquired with funds obtained from drug distribution activities.
Such a situation has been a real enigma to the investigators and accusers because they do not know where the rest of the money obtained may be.
While Mexicans claim that they are in real estate located in the United States, Americans claim that they are in cash on Mexican territory.
Benjamín Arellano Félix is extradited
Benjamín Félix Arellano was in the custody of his country’s justice system until April 2011, when he was handed over to the United States judicial authorities, where he faced charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit a crime for which he was sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison.
He will be released at the age of 83.