Tijuana cartel boss Eduardo Arellano Felix will be released from prison on Wednesday, August 18, after serving most of his 15-year sentence.

However, according to San Diego Union-Tribune, it is not yet clear where he will be going next. Eduardo Arellano Felix, also known as "The Doctor," has once helped lead the Tijuana cartel with his brothers.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his government was informed that the Tijuana cartel boss would not be deported to Mexico upon his release.

Ebrard cited a change in Arellano Felix's status and said that the United States is now considering the Mexican drug cartel boss to be a protected witness. 

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Arellano Felix was detained at a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The agency confirmed that there was a release date. However, they did not add information about the transfers, release plans, or any immigration detainers due to privacy and security reasons.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not also provide any information on Arellano Felix's immigration status.

Arellano Felix has been nicknamed "The Doctor" because he holds a medical degree. He was the chief financial officer for the Tijuana cartel or Arellano Felix Organization (FAO) that sent tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. for nearly two decades.

Arellano Felix was arrested in Tijuana in October 2008 and extradited to San Diego in 2012. He pleaded guilty in 2013, and a San Diego judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for laundering millions of dollars in illegal drug proceeds. 

Under the terms of the plea deal, 15 years was the maximum sentence. Arellano Felix was the last of the brothers to be sentenced. However, a remnant of the drug cartel remains in Tijuana, where a turf battle between the group and rival Sinaloa cartel continues to cause violence and bloodshed.

READ NEXT: Sinaloa Cartel Ally Sentenced to More Than 20 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

Tijuana Cartel Historic Rivalry With Sinaloa Cartel

According to an El Pais report, the Sinaloa cartel and the Tijuana cartel had a violent rivalry in the early 1990s, marking Mexico's first major narco war.

When Tijuana cartel boss Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was arrested, his nephews, the Arellano Felix brothers, led the cartel. Sinaloa cartel was then led by Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. 

Local newspapers in Baja California in Mexico had once reported that there were only two types of dead at the time: the Sinaloans and Arellanos.

The battle between the Sinaloa cartel and the Tijuana cartel intensified further after Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and his lieutenant Hector Luis "El Guero" Palma Salazar tried to kill Ramon Eduardo Arellano Felix at a nightclub in Puerto Vallarta. But the botched attempt hit and killed six others instead.

The violence had spilled over into the lives of the cartel families when the Arellano Felix brothers ordered a hitman to seduce El Guero's wife. 

The hitman has successfully completed his mission by killing El Guero's wife. He then sent her head to her husband in a refrigerated box.

The Sinaloa lieutenant had also received a videotaped showing the death of his two children, being thrown off in a 150-meter high bridge in Venezuela.

The Arellano Felix Brothers

Aside from Eduardo Arellano Felix, his brother Benjamin is also serving a sentence in a U.S. prison. Their fourth brother, Ramon, died in a shoot-out in Mexico in 2002, BBC News reported.

Their oldest brother, Francisco Rafael, was convicted in 2008 of six years in prison for selling drugs to an undercover agent. However, U.S. authorities had set him free as he had already served time in Mexico.

In 2010, following the arrest and absence of the Arellano Felix brothers, Tijuana had experienced relative peace after a truce has been formed between the Tijuana cartel and the Sinaloa cartel.

Sinaloa had gained the primary control of Tijuana and nearby areas. However, in 2015, there were reports that the Tijuana cartel was trying to control and retake the territory, InSight Crime reported.

The Arellano Felix brothers also have a sister named Enedina, who was reportedly responsible for handling the drug cartel's fiscal operations and money laundering.

READ MORE: El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel Continues to Thrive Despite the Drug Lord's Absence: Report 

This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Mary Webber

 WATCH: Mexico - The State and the Drug Cartels - From DW News