Former Mexican Cartel leader Benjamin Arellano Felix pleaded guilty Wednesday in San Diego. Imprisoned in Mexico since 2002, he was indicted in 2003 and extradited to San Diego in 2011. He's now 58 years old.
The agreed upon charges and plea agreement are here. There is no reference to cooperation, other a requirement he assist the Government with the forfeiture of his assets.
Arellano pleaded guilty to racketeering (RICO) which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and one count of money laundering conspiracy which carries a maximum of 5 years. He agreed to a forfeiture of $100 million. The Government will ask the terms be imposed consecutively, for a 25 year total. His guidelines call for a life sentence, but the judge cannot by law impose more than the statutory maximum of 25 years. Under the agreement, Arellano cannot ask for a guideline variance or departure, so in essence, he's agreed to the 20 or 25 year sentence. (The agreement does not prevent him from asking that the sentences run concurrent, for a total of 20 years.)
His conditions of confinement at MCC San Diego are abysmal. He was appealing the denial of a motion to modify them, but agreed to dismiss the appeal as part of his plea deal. [More...]
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