Updated 10:28 AM EST, Wed, Jan 19, 2022

"El Ingeniero," Suspected Cartel Leader Captured in Tijuana While Watching Mexico Take Down Croatia

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It seems that the World Cup games may be more than just Spain's downfall.

Fernando Sanchez Arellano, otherwise known as "El Ingeniero," was captured just beyond the San Diego border in Tijuana, Mexico while watching the matchup between Mexico and Croatia on Monday.

Sanchez Arellano was apprehended in Tijuana's La Mesa district, where the cartel boss was watching the World Cup. He is the suspected leader of the Tijuana cartel, a group that controlled most of the drug activity from Tijuana into the United States in the 1990s.

"The Engineer" is the nephew of the Arellano Felix brothers, a group of 11 siblings who started the Tijuana cartel in the 1980s.  

Once one of the biggest groups of narco-traffickers, the group became known for their violent methods of dealing with competition. Authorities have stated that the cartel killed rivals in the U.S. and Mexico, and would use vats of corrosives to dissolve the bodies. 

While the cartel was one extremely powerful, a number of severe blows to the group have cut down on the cartel's control in the area. The group weakened as their power structure was dismantled, with four of the brothers leading the criminal group eventually caught by authorities, and another killed in a shootout with police.   

The first of the brothers, Benjamin, was arrested in 2002, and it was only a short time before brother Francisco Javier, who took control after Benjamin's capture, was also arrested. He was caught off the shore of Baja, California while aboard a fishing boat.

Brother Ramon took Francisco's place after his untimely arrest, and the latest incarnation of the cartel's leader quickly became known for his violent approach to narco-trafficking. Ramon was shot by police in 2002, leaving Francisco Rafael in place.

It was only after Francisco Rafael took the role that the brothers who started the cartel see a long reign as leader; Francisco evaded arrest until his murder last year, in which gunmen dressed as clowns burst into a birthday party and killed him.

With no immediate family left in the chain, Sanchez Arellano was put in charge. He was running the cartel with his mother, Enedina.

And now Sanchez Arellano is under arrest as well.

It's unclear what will become of the crumbling crime family now that their latest leader has fallen from grace, but authorties state that his arrest took place after the final moments of the game, in which Mexico prevailed.

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