Mexican cartel kingpin pleads guilty in US court




SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mexican drug cartel kingpin Benjamin Arellano Felix has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in San Diego to racketeering and conspiracy to launder money.

The plea Wednesday avoids the spectacle of a trial for one of the world’s most powerful drug lords of the 1990s.

The plea agreement calls for a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Arellano Felix headed a once-mighty cartel based in the border city of Tijuana.

He was extradited from Mexico in April 2011 to face drug, money-laundering and racketeering charges. He had been under indictment in the U.S. since 2003.

Arellano Felix was incarcerated in Mexico after a 2002 arrest and was sentenced in 2007 to 22 years in prison on drug-trafficking and organized crime charges.