Cesar Augusto Gonzalez Wenzel from CJNG, AKA El Gafe, faces 14 years in prison for his reign of terror in Guadalajara

Cesar "El Gafe" Wenzel, CJNG leader, receives prison sentence; crimes span drug trafficking, ambushes, and violent confrontations in Jalisco.
  1. Cesar “El Gafe” Wenzel’s criminal empire in Guadalajara faces a significant setback following his 14-year sentencing.
  2. His arrest uncovers an array of illicit possessions, indicating a deep-rooted network of organized crime in Jalisco.
  3. Notable violent incidents, including a public shootout, traced back to “El Gafe”, highlighting the dangerous nature of his operations.

Cesar Augusto Gonzalez Wenzel, better known by his alias “El Gafe,” was a dominant force in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, notorious for his association with the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). His reign of terror ended in October 2022 when a combined effort of Mexican security agencies captured him. After nearly a year in custody, he has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The district judge from the Accusatory Criminal System in Morelia, Michoacán, handed down the sentence after “El Gafe” was found guilty of possession of fentanyl for commercial purposes, stockpiling firearms, and having magazines and cartridges reserved for the exclusive use of the Armed Forces. His sentence will be carried out in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation (Cefereso) 17 in Michoacán, the very place he’s been detained since his arrest.

The Sedena captured this individual in October 2022. (Government of Mexico)
The Sedena captured this individual in October 2022. (Government of Mexico)

A Glimpse into “El Gafe’s” Operations

Federal sources pinpointed “El Gafe” as a primary instigator of violence in areas such as Tlajomulco de Zúñiga and El Salto. His capture was a coordinated effort on October 11, 2022, involving agents from the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), National Guard, National Intelligence Center (CNI), and the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime (Femdo) of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR).

When authorities arrested “El Gafe,” they discovered an array of illegal possessions, including approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills, several firearms, grenades, and communication devices. Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, the then undersecretary of Public Security, shared insights into “El Gafe’s” operations, revealing that he coordinated various hitmen and hawks in Jalisco’s central region. Furthermore, “El Gafe” oversaw drug dealing factions and actively recruited for the cartel across several Mexican states.

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Truck secured from "Gafe" after his arrest (FGR)
Truck secured from “Gafe” after his arrest (FGR)

A Legacy of Violence

Though his conviction centers on drug and weapons-related charges, “El Gafe” is linked to a series of heinous crimes. Among them, he is believed to have orchestrated the October 2 shootout at the Landmark Plaza in Zapopan. That day, a group of hitmen, presumably under his command, ambushed a target at the shopping center. Their assassination attempt was thwarted by the target’s bodyguards, leading to a fierce skirmish that resulted in one death and six injuries.

Another notable incident tying back to “El Gafe” occurred on August 9, 2022, in Ixtlahuacán del Río, Jalisco. A clash between the Army and CJNG hitmen, believed to have involved “El Gafe,” caused blockades throughout the region and led to the deaths of three individuals.

As the story of “El Gafe” unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the intricate web of crime and the relentless pursuit of justice in Mexico.