An FBI spokesman said this morning the hit to the family could be significant, if the reports of Ramon's death are true — which could be determined this week — and with the arrest of Benjamin.
"There is no question that when you remove the most influential members of the organization, it is a big hit," said Keith Byers, a special agent with the FBI based in San Diego.
Still, there are other brothers in the family — Ramon, Eduardo and Javier — which means the cartel could maintain its control over its territory, Byers said.
However, he said it is possible rival cartels could see the family has been weakened and attempt to take control of the drug trafficking in the area.
"It is very possible rival cartels could see this as their opportunity to take over," Byers said.
He added he had little information on the arrest of Benjamin Arellano, stating it was a unilateral operation of Mexican authorities. He said U.S. law enforcement agencies were not involved in the arrest.
U.S. authorities will now watch to see how Mexico moves ahead with the prosecution of Benjamin Arellano.
At some point, he said, after Mexico does its prosecution, the U.S. Attorney's Office could seek extradition of Arellano to this country to face charges related to drug trafficking.
On the issue of Ramon Arellano, Byers said the blood test being conducted in the FBI lab in Washington, D.C., could produce answers within days.
The difficulty in determining whether the man killed in the gun battle in Mazatlan is Ramon Arellano stems from the fact the body was cremated before authorities could positively identify him.
The body, carrying identification with the name of Jorge Perez Lopez, was taken from a morgue, reportedly by family, and cremated.
However, authorities did have blood samples from the body and those samples were turned over to the FBI for analysis.
>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.