Crime and Violence

New Arellano Felix cartel leaders

A new generation of narcotraffickers is at the frontline of the Arellano Felix cartel. In an attempt to displace the Sinaloa cartel from Tijuana, they waged a merciless battle against ex-subordinates that where allied to the Sinaloa cartel. For the chief of the municipal police force, the complicated aspect is that common delinquency has been absorbed by organized crime, for which it is urgent that the Federal Government realize a more efficient job of intelligence to dismantle criminal groups.

Although the Tijuana cartel, one of the most powerful of the last three decades, has suffered onslaughts that have divided the organization, their operating structure and money laundering has been maintained intact, now under the leadership of a new generation of narcotraffickers headed by Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano, dubbed El Alineado (The Aligner). Under his command the Tijuana cartel has diversifies its avctivies: they not only operate the drug trade, but they have also participated in kiddapings in all of Baja California: more then 150 of them are said to have taken part under the new leadership of the Tijuana cartel.

Data confirmed at the Attorney General’s office of the Republic (PGR), Sánchez Arellano is the son of Alicia Arellano, who along with Enedina Arellano Félix deal with administering currency exchange offices and reality companies, businesses created under burgeoning criminal activity developed in the eighties and nineties by two of its brothers fallen in misfortune: Ramón and Benjamín.

According to criminal records, El Alineador, is 35 years old and gained power as the boss of the Tijuana Cartel through associations with Teodoro García Simental, El Teo, and El Tres Letras. The same way his uncles, Ramon and Benjamin, had when initiating themselves into drug trafficking.

At the same time that Sánchez Arellano and García Simental became allies, the newgeneration of the Tijuana cartel boomed, reaching domains never seen before, on U.S territory. On his part, The Teo, created its own base of hitmen, among them is Raydel López Uriarte, El Muletas

At its peek, which started a little after 2004, the association Sánchez Arellano-Garcia Simental was among the most vigorous. In spite of being one of the most pursued cartels in the last nine years, the Tijuana cartel has important ramifications in the United States. Its presence has been registered by that of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

The group opened new routes and built various narcotúneles, many of them discovered by the PGR, though there are still other tunnels which continue to operate on the vast stretch that is the frontier of Baja California. Inside the national territory, according to data by the PGR, dominating are the cities of Tijuana, Rosarito y Ensenada. However, the association between these two organizations did not last long and was fractured. Disagreements arose because of a power struggle which is why the state and pain plazas where divided.

For Julián Leizaola Pérez, secretary of Municipal Public Security, the cartel of Tijuana continues active and disputes the plaza with the Sinaloa cartel, groups of Michoacán and of the Gulf. He has managed to evade planes of being assassinated by drug traffickers in the two years he has been in charge, and affirms that when taking the position he faced a chaotic situation, as all the police officers, with a few exceptions, where servicing organized crime. Yet, he did not arrive blind to Tijuana: he already had functioned as the director of the Preventive State Police and had information of the contamination of the police tijuanense. In his two years in office 478 public servants, among directors, deputy directors, commanders and agents have been dismissed, 100 of them have been prosecuted at the Federal level.


Ravelo, Ricardo. “En Tijuana “El Alineador” manda” Proceso November 30, 2009. 


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