The United States government, in its ongoing efforts to combat drug trafficking, has set its sights on a prominent figure in the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). Audias Flores Silva, known by various aliases including ‘El Jardinero,’ ‘Comandante,’ ‘Bravo 2,′ ‘Audi,’ and ‘Mata Jefes,’ has emerged as a significant target in the eyes of both Mexican and US authorities.
The Rise of ‘El Jardinero’
Born on November 19, 1980, in Huetamo, Michoacán, Flores Silva, also known as Gabriel Raigosa Plascencia, has risen through the ranks of the CJNG. This ascent is partly attributed to the advanced age and alleged chronic illnesses of the cartel’s current leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias ‘El Mencho.’ Doubts about ‘El Mencho’s’ ability to continue leading have spotlighted potential successors, with ‘El Jardinero’ being a primary candidate.
US State Department investigations reveal that ‘El Jardinero’ plays a crucial role in the cartel’s operations. He is believed to control numerous methamphetamine laboratories in central Jalisco and southern Zacatecas. Moreover, he is thought to be in charge of several clandestine airstrips and manages routes for trafficking cocaine from Central America using articulated trucks and passenger buses.
The Scope of ‘El Jardinero’s’ Influence
The narcotics trafficked by the CJNG under ‘El Jardinero’s’ directives reach various US states, including Texas, Illinois, Washington, California, Georgia, and Virginia. His criminal activities are not limited to drug trafficking; in April 2015, he was involved in the ambush and murder of 15 state police officers from Jalisco’s Fuerza Única. Eduardo Almaguer, then prosecutor, stated that ‘El Jardinero’ was involved in planning and executing this attack.
Legal Entanglements and US Government’s Response
Despite his arrest in July 2016 in Nayarit and subsequent imprisonment in the Reclusorio Metropolitano de Jalisco, ‘El Jardinero’ was later released. He faced at least seven arrest warrants at the time, including four for homicide and three for organized crime.
In August 2020, the District Court of Columbia charged Flores Silva with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and heroin and for using and possessing firearms in drug trafficking activities.
In a significant move, the US government is offering a reward of up to five million dollars for information leading to the arrest of ‘El Jardinero.’ This figure surpasses the reward offered by the DEA for Óscar Noé Medina González, alias ‘El Panu,’ who is the head of security for Los Chapitos. This substantial reward underscores the US government’s priority on apprehending this key figure in the CJNG.
Identification and Image: An identification card and an image of ‘El Jardinero’ have been released by authorities to aid in his capture, marking a crucial step in the international effort to dismantle the CJNG’s influence and operations.