The Mexican army seized Sanchez Arellano on Monday, timing his capture with the Mexico-Croatia World Cup match, reportedly at a time when the target and bodyguards would be less vigilant.
Mexican officials believe Sanchez Arellano and his mother, Enedina, assumed leadership of the cartel in recent years.
The Tijuana cartel was founded in the 1980s by his uncle, Benjamin Arellano Felix.
Benjamin headed the organization until his arrest in 2002 and was succeeded by his brother, Francisco Javier, until his own arrest in 2006. Another uncle of Sanchez Arellano, Eduardo, then took the lead until he was captured in 2008. Two other uncles, Ramon and Francisco Rafael, were killed in 2002 and 2013, respectively.