Mexico 'clown' gunmen kill ex-drug chief Arellano Felix

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The authorities in Mexico have said gunmen dressed as clowns have shot dead a former leading member of a once-powerful and violent drug cartel.

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, 63, was killed in a beach resort in Baja California in north-western Mexico.

He and his brothers controlled the drug trade on Mexico's border with the United States in the 1990s.

But their Tijuana cartel was gradually weakened by the capture or killing of other leading members.

"He was hit by two bullets, one in the chest and one in the head," said Isai Arias, a Baja California state government official.

The motive for the attack and the gunmen's disguise were being investigated, he added.

The attack took place during a family party at a rented beach house in the tourist resort of Cabo San Lucas.

The former cartel leader was arrested in 1993 but released nearly 15 years later after spending time in prison in Mexico and the United States.

His brother Eduardo was jailed in August in the US for 15 years after pleading guilty to money laundering.

Security experts believe the Tijuana cartel is now run by his sister Enedina and her son Fernando, known as "The Engineer", according to AFP news agency.

Most estimates put the number of people killed in Mexican drug-related violence since late 2006 at more than 60,000.

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