The Arellano Felix cartel, one of the most infamous groups of drug smugglers in Tijuana now has a new leader. This time it is not a man suspected to be in charge, but a woman a feat virtually unheard of in the world of Mexican drug cartels.
As the male roles of the Arellano Felix clan were making a name for themselves during the eighties in the Tijuana drug circuit as brutally violent narcotics dealers with an appetite for wild parties and inhumane torture, it is reported that Enedina Arellano Felix, currently suspected of leading the cartel, was studying at a private university to become an accountant.
With her background in accounting, it wasn’t long before Enedina operated the entire financial side of the cartel. This role both helped to keep Enedina out of several quarrels with other drug cartels and also gave her an advantage of having experience in the business. Before rising to the top of the Arrelano Felix Cartel, Enedina used to run several businesses through which the cartel would launder their drug profits. These businesses have since been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Act.
Mexican journalist Javier Valdez commented “The women who rise high in [cartels] are very rare. They have to be extremely intelligent, talented and brave.” Valdez was referring to the fact that Enedina is one of the only known female leaders of a drug cartel. While there have been female narcotics dealers in the past none have been suspected of running a whole cartel.
Enedina Arellano Felix seems to have all the tools she needs to rebuild the Arellano Felix cartel. She has the business background and has been successful in staying out of the many wars her other male counterparts would have jumped into without hesitation. Drug cartels have a long history of the mistreatment of women as they are typically used and then brutally killed. As a leader in the cartel, Enedina is in a position to change the cartel culture and bring it into the 21st century, if she doesn’t end up arrested or assassinated.