When you hear stories like this, you think initially it can't be true, that it's something straight out of a Cormac McCarthy novel. But nope, it happened: a former Mexican drug cartel leader was killed in the middle of a kid's party by a gang of gunmen dressed as clowns.
Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, the 63-year-old former leader of the Tijuana Cartel, was shot surrounded by members of his own family at a party at a rented beach house in Cabo San Lucas, the popular tourist area in Baja California.
Authorities are investigating Arellano Felix's killing, and whether or not it was related to organize crime. "A person dressed as a clown took his life," a spokesperson for state prosecutors told Reuters. "He was hit by two bullets, one in the chest and one in the head," Isai Arias, a Baja California state government official, told the BBC. Multiple local reports say two gunmen fled the scene shortly after Arellano Felix was killed.
The Tijuana Cartel was one of the most violent, powerful drug operations running on the U.S.-Mexico border in the 1990s, but gradually arrests and killings of the groups top leaders over the last decade weakened their influence. At one point, before serving fifteen years in between Mexican and U.S. jails for drug-related offenses, Arellano Felix was the group's leader. "Another official working with state prosecutors said Arellano Felix, the oldest of the brothers who headed the gang, was not wanted by authorities at the time of his death," Reuters reports. His three surviving younger brothers -- Francisco Javier, Benjamin and Eduardo -- are all serving sentences in the U.S.
[Top: Army soldiers stand guard by US citizen Eduardo Morquecho, aka "El Lalo," as he is shown to the press, along with items seized from him during his arrest in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, July 10, 2009. Morquecho was arrested on Thursday and works for the Arellano Felix cartel, according to authorities. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.