SAN DIEGO (CN) – Mexico on Wednesday extradited Armando Villareal Heredia, whom U.S. prosecutors accuse of being a top leader in the Arellano-Felix drug cartel, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Villareal, 33, is the lead defendant in a 43-person racketeering indictment, prosecutors said in a statement. Mexico arrested him in July 2011 at the request of the United States.
Thirty-eight of the defendants have pleaded guilty, prosecutors said, to climes that include murders, kidnappings, drug trafficking, robberies, assaults and money laundering. Four defendants are fugitives and one awaits trial.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office called the Arellano-Felix “defunct,” though drug violence in Mexico has increased tremendously in recent years.