Notorious Mexican Gangster Killed—by Clown Assassin

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix ran Tijuana cartel
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2013 9:35 AM CDT
Notorious Mexican Gangster Killed—By Clown Assassin
A clown sings during the annual clown pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City,in this July 24, 2013, file photo.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

It's an ignoble ending for one of Mexico's most notorious cartel chiefs: Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix was shot dead in Cabo San Lucas on Friday, and as a spokesman for state prosecutors tells Reuters, "A person dressed as a clown took his life." The costume actually makes sense, because Arellano Felix, who once headed up the ruthless Tijuana Cartel, was attending a child's birthday party. He was shot point-blank "by two bullets, one in the thorax and one in the head." Media including the New York Post are reporting that the gunman had two accomplices, but officials have yet to confirm that.

Arellano Felix was the oldest of seven brothers who ran the Tijuana Cartel and inspired characters in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Three brothers are serving time in the US, while a fourth was killed in a 2002 gun fight with police. Arellano Felix himself served 15 years, but had been free since 2008. (Read more Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix stories.)

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