SAN DIEGO – A second accused leader of the Arellano Felix drug cartel was in federal custody in San Diego Monday, awaiting arraignment on drug-related charges a month after his younger brother was brought here following a Coast Guard arrest at sea.
The charge stems from a case in which Arellano Felix allegedly sold 9 ounces of cocaine to an undercover police officer in a San Diego motel in 1980.
Arellano Felix, 56, arrived in San Diego on Saturday night aboard a commercial flight, escorted by two federal marshals, making him the first key Mexican cartel figure to be extradited to the United States.
The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, and other U.S. officials hailed the development.
Arellano Felix was arrested in December 1993 in Tijuana and served a 10-year prison sentence in Mexico for violating that country's tough weapons laws.
U.S. authorities requested his extradition in 2003, near the end of his sentence. A Mexican judge approved that request in 2004.
He was remanded to U.S. custody in Brownsville, Texas, on Saturday.
The charge is unrelated to the drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy charges against his younger brother, Francisco Javier Arellano Felix.
The younger Arellano Felix, 36, was captured in mid-August by a Coast Guard team aboard a sport-fishing yacht in international waters off La Paz, Mexico.
Four other men captured with him, including a suspected senior figure in the cartel, are being held in a federal jail in San Diego as material witnesses. A fifth man taken into custody aboard the boat was charged on Friday with making false statements to federal authorities.