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Border & Immigration

Arellano-Felix, Alleged Cartel Members Back in Court

Arellano-Felix, Alleged Cartel Members Back in Court

The alleged leader of the Arellano Felix drug cartel and three of his supposed top lieutenants will be in federal court in San Diego Monday. At issue is determining a trial date and assigning an attorney for one of the defendants. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

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Lawyers defending Francisco Javier Arellano Felix and government prosecutors disagreed with the Judge two weeks ago about when the case should go to trial. The prosecution and defense argue they need until June 2008 to be ready for trial. However, the judge insists the trial should begin this year. He ordered both sides back to the drawing board to bring him a realistic date.

Arellano Felix and one of his top lieutenants, Manuel Arturo Villareal, are accused of drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy. Both could face the death penalty.

Meanwhile, the court has had difficulty finding an attorney for defendant Villareal. It's expected the court will assign him counsel today. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.