Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix, the eldest brother in Mexico's once-dominant Tijuana drug cartel, was shot to death by gunmen disguised as clowns at a children's party on Friday.
The 63-year-old drug lord was also known by the nicknames "El Pelón" (the baldie) or Menso, ("stupid/crazy"). He was assassinated by a man in a clown suit during a family gathering at an upscale resort in Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist destination on the Baja California peninsula, state special investigations prosecutor Isai Arias told Associated Press on Saturday:
An official of the Baja California Sur state prosecutor's office told the AP that the costumes included a wig and a round red nose.
"He was hit by two bullets, one in the chest and one in the head," Baja California state government official Isai Arias told press on Saturday. The motive for the attack and the gunmen's disguise are under investigation, he said. Mexican police report that the body was identified by one of his sons.
Mexican newspaper El Universal reports that the murder took place in the Ocean House ballroom at the Hotel Marbella in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico.
Reuters reports that there was one gunman, with two male accomplices.
El Universal de Mexico has a backgrounder on the crime family. They were thought to be the most brutal, most bloody, and most powerful in Mexico for some time.
Arrellano Félix did time in US prison, then returned to Mexico.
From BBC News:
The former cartel leader was arrested in 1993 but released nearly 15 years later after spending time in prison in Mexico and the United States. His brother Eduardo was jailed in August in the US for 15 years after pleading guilty to money laundering. Security experts believe the Tijuana cartel is now run by his sister Enedina and her son Fernando, known as "The Engineer", according to AFP news agency.
El Universal quotes Brian White, his attorney, as saying that "his client's freedom was achieved after a reduction of sentence for good behavior."
As @andresmh pointed out to your faithful blogger on Twitter, there's a drop of bloody irony in this story: "Se lo cargó el payaso" is a vernacular phrase (a "dicho") in Mexican Spanish which literally translates to "he was carried by the clown" but means something bad happened to someone. It's like saying, "he's fucked."
As the top commenter in this news article noted, Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix was indeed mortally fucked by clowns.
Related Boing Boing post: "NSA hacked email of Mexican president and drug-war reformers"
"Killer Clowns" have precedent in popular culture. Above, the trailer for the cult film "Killer Klowns from Outer Space."