LOS ANGELES — A Mexican drug kingpin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to US federal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to launder money, and could face up to 25 years in prison, court officials said.


Benjamin Arellano Felix, former leader of the notorious Arellano Felix Organization, is due to be sentenced on April 2 by US District Judge Larry Burns in San Diego following a plea deal.

Arellano Felix was extradited from Mexico to the United States last April, to face charges of drug trafficking, criminal association, money laundering and organized crime.

The drug gang leader, who was detained in 2002, led the Tijuana cartel, or Arellano Felix Organization, with his brothers and was considered the "financial and operative brain" of the gang, according to Mexican officials.

Arellano Felix had been in a maximum security jail in Mexico since his detention nine years ago, while the United States presented the extradition demand in 2007.