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Analyst Says Cartel Guilty Pleas Send Message

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Aired 10/22/09

Four men who were once high ranking members of Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel have pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego in the last week. Analysts say the pleas send a strong message.

Four men who were once high ranking members of Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel have pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego in the last week. Analysts say the pleas send a strong message.

Mexico extradited the four men at the end of last year to face charges including drug trafficking and conspiracy in San Diego.

John Kirby is a former federal prosecutor.

He says the four mens' guilty pleas won't affect cartel operations.

"What I think it does do is makes drug traffickers who are currently operating understand that you can't operate with impunity in Mexico."

U.S. Federal officials say Jesus Labra Aviles who pleaded guilty was the Arellano Felix cartel's financial mastermind before his arrest in Tijuana nine years ago.

Court documents say Efrain Perez helped get large shipments of drugs from Tijuana to the U.S. and helped enforce the cartel's control of Tijuana and Ensenada through murder and kidnapping.

Jorge Aureliano and Armando Martinez Duarte are both former Mexican police officers who also used violence to provide security for the cartel in Tijuana and Mexicali.

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