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Mexico drug lord killed by clown assassins

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Gunmen disguised as clowns at a children's party shot dead the eldest brother of Mexico's once powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel family, authorities said Saturday - AFP reports.

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, 63, was gunned down at a family event Friday in Cabo San Lucas, a tourist resort in the Baja California peninsula, state special investigations prosecutor Isai Arias told reporters.

"He was hit by two bullets, one in the thorax and one in the head," Arias said.

Relatives identified the former Tijuana drug cartel lieutenant's body, Arias said, adding that there have been no arrests in the case.

The gunmen were dressed as clowns when they shot Arellano Felix at the party in the luxurious Casa Oceano tourist residence, agents close to the case told AFP.

The Arellano Felix brothers once dominated drug trafficking between Mexico and California through their brutal Tijuana cartel, inspiring characters in the Steven Soderbergh movie "Traffic."

Most of the Arellano Felix brothers have been either killed or arrested, leaving the cartel in tatters. Infighting also weakened the group.

Francisco Rafael's murder is likely "due to unpaid old debts, and old retributions" from the times that the Arellanos were at the height of their power between 1990 and 2000, said Raul Benitez a drug trade expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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