Alleged high-ranking drug cartel member to be extradited from Me

Alleged high-ranking drug cartel member to be extradited from Mexico City

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Rafael Enrique Araiza Rafael Enrique Araiza
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TUCSON, Ariz. -

A high-ranking drug cartel member will be extradited from Mexico City to Tucson this week, Attorney General Tom Horne announced Wednesday.

Rafael Enrique Araiza, along with 17 others, were indicted on November 23, 2010 for charges of illegally conducting a drug enterprise, money laundering, and unlawful use of wire communication.  

Araiza, one of the two leaders, was never found in Arizona and escaped to Mexico.

The Tucson Police Department uncovered a major illegal drug trafficking organization just south of Miguel, Ariz. and identified Araiza as its leader.

Araiza allegedly organized the importation, selling and distribution of drugs throughout southern Arizona and Nevada. Officials say he also organized the smuggling of drug money, hidden in compartments of vehicles, back into Mexico through U.S. ports of entry.

The U.S. Department of Justice and a Federal Court in Mexico City issued a provisional arrest warrant prepared by the Arizona Attorney General's Office and Araiza was arrested on November 3, 2012 in Mexico.

Araiza will be arraigned this week in the Pima County Courthouse.

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