New charges for alleged cartel boss

Times Staff writer

Federal prosecutors have filed additional charges against alleged Mexican drug cartel boss Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted of one of the new counts.

The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, includes the original charges that accused Arellano Felix, 37, of heading a major drug-trafficking organization that used torture, bribes and murder to import marijuana and cocaine into the United States.

But Arellano Felix now faces charges of ordering the June murder and beheadings of three police officers from the Mexican town of Rosarito Beach and the murder of a Tijuana deputy police chief in 2005.

He also is charged with several other murders and kidnappings.

The potential death penalty count accuses Arellano Felix of running a "continuing criminal enterprise" in which he intentionally killed in furtherance of that enterprise.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales will decide whether to seek the death penalty, prosecutors said.

Arellano Felix was one of the world's most wanted drug traffickers when he was arrested in August by the U.S. Coast Guard on a fishing boat off Mexico's Baja California.


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