Sunday, May 5, 2013


DEA issues poster of drug traffickers in San Diego

Featuring six men, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-issued poster will be displayed at San Diego border crossings and at police stations on the U.S. side of the border.

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday released a poster that it says identifies the most significant drug traffickers in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, replacing one it issued more than four years ago when rivals were embroiled in a violent turf war over the lucrative corridor.

The poster features six men, including Sinaloa cartel leaders Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. The cartel is believed to have vastly expanded its influence in the region in recent years with efforts that include construction of sophisticated cross-border tunnels.

Also featured is Fernando "El Ingeneiro" Sanchez Arellano, identified by the DEA as the leader of the Tijuana cartel. Sanchez Arellano is a nephew of the Arellano Felix brothers, who ran one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels in the 1990s and well into the 2000s.

Sanchez Arellano's presence on the poster demonstrates the staying power of the Arellano Felix family, even after its founders have either died or been imprisoned, said Nathan Jones, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, who wrote his doctoral thesis on the cartel.

"They got a lot of the top-level guys, but it's shifted from one generation to another," he said.

The DEA's last poster for the San Diego-Tijuana area was released in January 2009 amid a gruesome struggle between Sanchez Arellano and Teodoro "El Teo" Garcia Simental, who terrified Tijuana residents by decapitating rivals and hanging corpses from bridges. Such high-profile displays of violence all but stopped after Garcia Simental's arrest in Mexico in January 2010. Tijuana reported 332 homicides last year, down from 844 in 2008.

The new poster, published jointly with the FBI, will be displayed at San Diego border crossings and at police stations on the U.S. side of the border, said DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick. It offers monetary rewards for information on the six men, with the amount depending on its value to authorities.

The other men photographed are Alfonzo "El Aquiles" Arzate Garcia, Rene "La Rana" Arzate Garcia and Jose Antonio "El Tigre" Soto Gastelum.

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