Fernando Sanchez Arellano, alias “El Ingeniero” or “Fernandito,” was the enigmatic head of the Tijuana Cartel, until his capture in June 2014. El Ingeniero is the son of Enedina Arellano Felix, who is the sister of the Arellano Felix brothers – original founders of the Tijuana Cartel.
El Ingeniero was born in Tijuana, Mexico in 1977. He is thought to have worked closely with his mother Enedina and was involved in a wide range of criminal activities including drug trafficking, extortion, robbery and kidnapping.
Following the death or captures of many of his brothers, Eduardo Arellano Felix ran the Tijuana Cartel until his own arrest in 2008. Upon Eduardo’s removal the organization split with one faction headed up by El Ingeniero and another by Eduardo Teodoro Garcia Simental, alias “El Teo” or “Tres Letras.” El Teo sought an alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel, while El Ingeniero reportedly allied himself with the Zetas. A bloody feud ensued, but following the arrest of El Teo in January 2010, the organization appeared to consolidate again under El Ingenierio.
El Ingeniero Factbox
Group: Tijuana Cartel
Criminal Activities: drug trafficking, extortion, robbery, kidnapping
Status: Captured June 23, 2014
Area of Operation: Tijuana, Mexico
El Ingeniero inherited an organization far weaker than at the height of its power in the 1990s and early 2000s. He also reportedly had trouble keeping his troops from defecting to powerful rival the Sinaloa Cartel, which by then had begun moving into Tijuana in force.
On June 23, 2014, El Ingeniero was arrested in Tijuana by the Mexican Army, leaving his mother Enedina in charge of the cartel. He was captured without a single shot fired. He currently resides in Mexico’s only supermax prison El Altiplano, as his trial continues.
El Ingeniero was involved in a wide range of criminal actives but primarily focused on smuggling narcotics from Baja California into Southern California.
Born in Tijuana, El Ingeniero continued to operate there until his capture.
Allies and Enemies
El Ingeniero feuded with rival Tijuana Cartel faction head El Teo, until the latter’s arrest. He also competed with the Sinaloa Cartel, but the two cartels were thought to have eventually reached a truce.
It is highly likely El Ingeniero will receive a lengthy sentence in Mexico and may even be extradited to the United States, as several of his uncles have been.