- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

Mexican soldiers, military police and federal prosecutors arrested nearly 40 top government officials during a raid on a state police academy near Tijuana, taking into custody that city's police chief and the commandant of the State Judicial Police in Tijuana.
Those arrested during the Thursday raid, which included the assistant state attorney general of Baja California, were charged with corruption and face pending trials in what U.S. authorities described as a crackdown by Mexican President Vicente Fox on drug trafficking.
"The initiative taken by the government of Mexico under the Fox administration against drug traffickers, and those assisting drug traffickers, is unprecedented," said Asa Hutchinson, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"The government of Mexico continues to send a clear message that drug traffickers do not rule Mexico and that laws will be enforced," Mr. Hutchinson said. "Most significantly, these arrests follow the dismantling of the leadership of the violent Arellano-Felix organization and will reduce the possibility that another organization will dominate the Tijuana area."
In March, Mexican authorities captured Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the leader of one of the most violent drug-smuggling organizations in the world. The DEA said he was the patriarch of a drug cartel that shipped tons of cocaine and marijuana annually into the United States, while laundering millions of dollars in illicit profits.
Indicted in 1992 in California for cocaine trafficking and money-laundering violations, the suspected drug boss has been a top priority of DEA and Mexican authorities ever since.
Arellano-Felix, 49, was arrested by Mexican army units March 9 outside Puebla. He had eluded Mexican authorities for more than 10 years.
He is being held at the maximum-security La Palma federal prison near Mexico City.
His brother, Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix, 37, who was described by Mexican and U.S. authorities as the cartel's chief enforcer, reportedly was killed during a Feb. 10 shootout with Mexican police in Mazatlan.
The Arellano-Felix organization controls drug trafficking into the United States along the westernmost part of the U.S.-Mexico border. The organization smuggles marijuana and cocaine into the United States, as well as large quantities of heroin and methamphetamines. It is also believed to distribute an estimated $1 million weekly in bribes to Mexican authorities.
Based in Tijuana, the ring has been blamed for numerous assassinations of police, prosecutors, judges and rivals in the drug trade. Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list since 1998, with a $2 million reward for his capture.
Among those arrested in the Mexican raid at the academy near the border city of Tecate were Carlos Otal, Tijuana's police chief; Rogelio Delgado-Neri, assistant state attorney general of Baja California; Sergio Riedel-Borico, first commandant of the State Judicial Police in Tijuana; and Armando Martinez-Duarte, first subcommandant of the Mexican Federal Attorney General's Office in Mexicali.

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