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Mexico extradites drug kingpin to United States

Published September 17, 2006

MEXICO CITY - Mexico extradited drug kingpin Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix to the United States on Saturday, making him the first major Mexican drug lord to be sent north to face drug charges.

After serving a 10-year sentence in Mexico, the former head of the Arellano Felix drug clan was handed over to Texas officials in Brownsville. Arellano Felix will be taken to California to face trial on charges stemming from a 1980 case in which he allegedly sold cocaine to an undercover police officer in the United States.

U.S. authorities requested his extradition on June 2, 2003. A federal judge approved that request in 2004, but it took two years for the Foreign Relations Department to send him.

The clan was one of Mexico's largest and most violent drug smuggling gangs in the 1990s, and Mexican and U.S. officials said the gang still moves tons of cocaine and marijuana into the United States.

Mexican election: Supporters of defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador massed Saturday, the Mexican Independence Day, and named him leader of a "parallel government." Lopez Obrador lost the July 2 election by less than 0.6 percent to Felipe Calderon. Lopez Obrador claims the election was tainted by fraud and refuses to accept Calderon's victory.

Elsewhere ...

United Nations: Secretary-General Kofi Annan reversed course Saturday and decided to fill out a newly minted U.N. financial disclosure form, just two days after his refusal became public. Annan is not required to fill out the form because he is technically not a staff member.

Sudan: President Omar al-Bashir again rejected the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping troops in the war-torn Darfur region Saturday. But First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit welcomed U.N. intervention. He heads the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, a former southern rebel group that made peace with the Sudanese government in January 2005. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Sudan in an editorial distributed Saturday to accept the U.N. Security Council's decision to replace the largely ineffective African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur with better-equipped U.N. troops.

Thailand: A series of bomb blasts ripped through three department stores Saturday night in Thailand's restive south, killing four people and wounding dozens, police said. Authorities quickly blamed separatist insurgents for the attacks in the Hat Yai business district in Songkhla province. Since 2004, they have waged a bloody campaign that has killed at least 1,700 people - most civilians.

[Last modified September 17, 2006, 01:42:00]

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