Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican Tijuana cartel boss Sanchez Arellano 'captured'

A screen displays photographs of Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano during a news conference in Mexico City on 24 June, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano, also known as Engineer, was arrested on Monday

The Mexican army says it has captured the leader of the once-powerful Tijuana cartel, Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano.

In the 1990s, the cartel controlled much of the drugs flow from the northern Mexican city of Tijuana to the United States.

But it was dealt a severe blow after the arrest of four of the brothers leading it and the killing of a fifth.

Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano is the nephew of the Arellano Felix brothers who originally founded the cartel.

An army official said Mr Sanchez Arellano was captured on Monday afternoon shortly after the Mexican football team reached the last 16 of the Fifa World Cup by beating Croatia.

The security forces often time their raids to coincide with holidays or events when they know their target and its bodyguards may be less vigilant.

The government had offered a 30-million-peso reward ($2.3m; £1.4m) for information leading to his capture.

Mr Sanchez Arellano is the latest of the infamous crime family to be arrested.

Family business

The Tijuana cartel was founded by Benjamin Arellano Felix in the late 1980s.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Arellano Felix clan is one of the most feared criminal families in Mexico
Image copyright AP
Image caption Benjamin (left) and his brother Ramon are two of the eleven siblings of the Arellano Felix family
Image copyright AP
Image caption Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was arrested by the US Coast Guard in 2006`

After his arrest in 2002, his youngest brother Francisco Javier took over the leadership of the cartel until he himself was captured by the US Coast Guard while fishing off the coast of Baja California in 2006.

Another brother Eduardo took over the reins for the following two years until his capture in 2008.

Ramon, considered the most violent of the brothers, was killed in a shoot-out with police in 2002.

The cartel is said to have tortured and killed rivals in the US and Mexico, sometimes dissolving their bodies in vats of corrosives.

The oldest of the Arellano Felix brothers, Francisco Rafael, was shot dead last year by gunmen disguised as clowns who burst into his birthday party.

Mexican officials believe the cartel has been led in recent years by Luis, along with his mother Enedina.

The family inspired the US film Traffic by Steven Soderbergh.