What Happened to the Arellano Felix Brothers’ Net Worth?

The Arellano Felix brothers ran a powerful narcotics trafficking organization and they built a substantial net worth.

Ruchi Gupta - Author

Nov. 8 2021, Published 2:01 p.m. ET

Wanted posters for the Arellano Felix brothers
Source: Getty

For nearly two decades, the Arellano Felix brothers operated a powerful and ruthless drug trafficking organization based in the Mexican city of Tijuana. The organization, also called Tijuana cartel, trafficked tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico and Colombia. They made huge profits from the narcotics trade. What’s the Arellano Felix brothers’ net worth now?

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Arellano Felix Brothers

Arellano Felix Brothers ran an illicit narcotics trafficking business delivered cocaine and marijuana to the U.S. from Mexico.

Net worth: $50 Million–$100 Million

Arellano Felix Brothers formed the Tijuana cartel that smuggled tons of narcotics into the U.S. from Mexico and Colombia. The brothers made huge profits from the trade but some of them gave it away to avoid long prison terms. The cartel unraveled after the killing of its top enforcer Ramon Arellano Felix.

At the height of its operation in the 1990s, the Tijuana cartel supplied almost half of all the cocaine sold in the U.S. The Arellano Felix brothers ran a sophisticated smuggling network. They built a tunnel to deliver the drugs across the borders to clients. They also used violence against rival cartels to control the lucrative trafficking routes.

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Are the Arellano Felix brothers still alive?

Ramon Arellano Felix, the head of the Tijuana cartel’s enforcement unit, died in a shootout with the Mexican police in 2002. He was on America’s list of 10 most wanted people.

Eduardo Arellano Felix, who was in charge of the cartel’s finances, was arrested in 2008 in Mexico. He was extradited to the U.S. to face narcotic traffic charges. The U.S. gave him a 15-year prison sentence. After servicing most of his U.S. prison term, Eduardo was sent back to Mexico and was re-arrested on arrival.

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Benjamin Arellano Felix was thought to be the CEO of the Tijuana cartel. Shortly after Ramon’s killing in 2002, Benjamin was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. where a court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Mexico also handed Benjamin a 22-year prison term.

Javier Arellano Felix oversaw the cartel’s finances alongside Eduardo. He was arrested in 2006 and handed a life prison term in the U.S.

Arellano Felix brothers’ net worth

The brothers behind the Tijuana cartel might have made huge profits from the illicit narcotic trade, but they have little to show for it now. For example, Eduardo agreed to give up $50 million of wealth in a plea deal. That allowed him to escape a possible 140-year prison term. Benjamin forfeited $100 million in drug profits in exchange for a reduced prison term.

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arellano felix brothers
Source: Getty
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Is the Tijuana cartel still active and who runs it now?

The killing or arrests of the Arellano Felix brothers greatly reduced the influence of the Tijuana cartel in the narcotic smuggling business. The cartel’s diminishing control allowed rival groups such as Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels to flourish.

After Eduardo received a 15-year prison sentence, a U.S. drug official declared that the Arellano Felix organization was finished. Although some remaining members of the Arellano Felix family continue to run the Tijuana cartel, the organization has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.


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