He is the money man behind the world's richest drug dealer, according to U.S. drug investigators.
Felix "Lic Vicc" Beltran was indicted in Chicago in 2015 on allegations he was chief financial officer for the notorious Sinaloa Cartel and its feared leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Even as El Chapo was arrested and continues to await trial in New York City, Felix Beltran had been a fugitive from justice in the Chicago case.
The I-Team has learned that Beltran was arrested last Thursday in suburban Mexico City. 30 anti-organized crime agents raided a 9th floor apartment in the tony Santa Fe district southwest of downtown Mexico City where they say the Sinaloa CFO was hiding out.
Beltran is the son of Victor Manuel Félix Félix, "El Señor," who served as Chapo's chief financial officer and consiglieri until his detainment in 2011. According to authorities, "El Vic" served as his father's successor, handling most of the cartel's finances. Police say he was also in charge of the cartel's money laundering operation, and supervised the cartel's heroin production and export into the United States. Some reports have described him as El Chapo's "consigliere," the top advisor to a crime boss-usually associated with the Mafia.
As the I-Team reported in 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department described Félix Beltrán as "a high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel trafficker" and the newly installed head of the lucrative Mexico-to-Chicago trafficking operation. That same year, federal prosecutors in Chicago charged him with drug trafficking and money laundering, charges from which he remained a fugitive until his apprehension.
Authorities suspect that Beltran took over as leader of the cartel's Chicago distribution hub after the arrests of Pedro and Margarito Flores, twin brothers from Chicago who helped to bring down El Chapo himself.
Despite cutting off Sinaloa's head with the arrest of El Chapo, his cartel continues to reap major profits from exporting narcotics to Chicago investigators have said.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago declined to say whether they would seek Beltran's immediate extradition. There was a Chicago court filing in his case on Monday but it was ordered seal by Judge Ruben Castillo.
Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Ross Weidner.
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