Moment notorious cartel boss is shot dead by killer clown at birthday party

Notorious Mexican drug lord Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix was gunned down by a killer clown at his own birthday party on this day nine years ago (October 18, 2013).

Francisco Rafael was the eldest of the infamous Arellano Félix brothers, who formed the Tijuana Cartel in the late 1980s.

In the early 1990s, the Arellano Félix clan were at war with Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel after the gang attempted to take control of Tijuana.

READ MORE: Police hunting El Chapo’s son close in as they work out codename in intercepted calls

The rivalry climaxed on May 24, 1993 when Tijuana Cartel gunmen attempted to kill El Chapo at Guadalajara International Airport.

Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, a respected Roman Catholic Cardinal, was killed in the gunfire.

Just months later Francisco Rafael was arrested in relation to the murder. He also faced drug trafficking charges.

Following his release from US prison in 2008, the drugs boss moved to Los Cabos, a resort town in the Baja California peninsula, where he'd eventually be assassinated.

On the day of October 18, 2013, Francisco Rafael was celebrating his 64th birthday at the Ocean House banquet hall in Los Cobos.

Among the 100-or-so attendees were his wife, children and friends as well as a number of prominent figures in Mexico.

Perhaps the most surprising was former Bolton Wanderers striker Jared Borgetti, who currently works as a commentator for ESPN.

Footage from the moments before Francisco Rafael died shows guests chatting away happily and tucking into a lavish banquet as a band plays.

About 30 seconds into the clip, a man wearing a blue clown costume and a pink wig strolls in front of the camera.

Then there's panic as the cameraman stops filming those around him. Gunshots can be heard, followed by screams.

According to witnesses, more gunshots were heard outside the hall as the killer clown fired to scare away one of Francisco Rafael's sons who gave chase.

He then fled in a black SUV.

A murder investigation was launched immediately, with the autopsy revealing that Francisco Rafael died from a severe traumatic brain injury.

Although it isn't exactly clear who pulled the trigger, most theories point to the drug lord's old enemies in the Sinaloa Cartel.

El Chapo was nearly arrested in Los Cobos in 2012 after an anonymous call to the DEA, and some speculate that Francisco Rafael may have made that call despite no longer being involved in drug trafficking.

In January 2014, the PGR stated that the alleged mastermind of the murder was possibly José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa (aka 'El Chino Ántrax), the leader of an armed cell within the Sinaloa Cartel.

Mexico's Federal Ministerial Police released images of the two men at a boxing event two days prior to the killing, hypothesising that Francisco Rafael was killed for involvement in money laundering in Los Cobos, where the Sinaloans controlled organised crime.

El Chino Ántrax had been arrested on drugs trafficking charges in December 2013. The alleged hitman eventually wound up murdered himself in Sinaloa in 2020.

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