TIJUANA, Mexico – Soldiers and federal police arrested a reputed leader of the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix cartel after a shootout in the border city across from San Diego, authorities announced Sunday.
Eduardo Arellano Felix, 52, was captured Saturday night together with his 11-year-old daughter, Assistant Secretary of Public Safety Facundo Rosas told reporters.
The suspect was flown to Mexico City. The U.S. State Department once offered $5 million for his capture.
Rosas said that Arellano Felix and his sister Enedina Arellano Felix took over the drug clan's leadership after several of their brothers were arrested or killed.
"The generation of brothers who formed this criminal organization has been dissolved," Rosas said.
He said Enedina's son, Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano, has taken over the cartel's operations.
Tijuana, once clearly the gang's home turf, has become a focal point of soaring violence between rival organized crime groups and often outgunned authorities.
Rosas said much of the violence in the city of 1.5 million people stems from a fight between the cartel and a breakaway group.
The Arellano Felix cartel emerged in the 1980s as a drug trafficking powerhouse across the U.S. border from San Diego, but has been weakened in recent years as leaders were killed or captured.
In 2006, Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was captured on a fishing boat by the U.S. Coast Guard in international waters off the coast of southern Baja California.
A huge blow was dealt to the gang in 2002 with the arrest of Benjamin Arellano Felix, reputedly the planning chief of the gang, and the killing of Ramon Arellano Felix, the groups feared enforcer.
Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, the oldest of seven brothers, was extradited to the U.S. in 2006 by then President Vicente Fox. In March, he was deported to Mexico after being freed from a San Diego prison. He was sentenced by a U.S. judge to six years in prison on drug charges but was granted parole.
President Felipe Calderon has come under criticism for a surge in homicides and kidnappings, even as thousands of soldiers and federal police fight drug gangs across the country.
Calderon's administration also has focused on extraditing suspected traffickers to the United States, a move which U.S. anti-drug officials have praised.
A Mexican judge in July blocked the extradition to the U.S. of Benjamin Arellano Felix until a court can rule on the legality of the government's extradition order.