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Suspected cartel member to face Arizona charges

PHOENIX — Attorney General Tom Horne says a suspected high-ranking member
of the Sinaloa drug cartel has been extradited from Mexico to face charges in
Arizona.

Rafael Enrique Araiza and 17 others were indicted in November 2010 by a grand
jury on 65 counts that included illegally conducting a drug enterprise and money
laundering.

Horne’s office says some of the defendants have been convicted, but Araiza
escaped to Mexico.

Authorities have alleged that Araiza was the head of an illegal drug
trafficking organization that was uncovered by investigators with the Tucson
Police Department. They say the marijuana brought in to the U.S. by the
organization was distributed throughout southern Arizona and Nevada.

The drug proceeds were funneled back into Mexico in hidden vehicle
compartments.

Araiza will be arraigned this week at the Pima County courthouse.

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