A still from a Jalisco New Generation Cartel propaganda video. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

The U.S. Departments of Justice State, and Treasury have announced a $5 million bounty on Audias Flores Silva, also known as “The Gardener,” for any information relating to his capture, following his identification as one of the leaders of Mexico’s violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

A file was also opened against Flores Silva at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing his assets in the United States and prohibiting any individual or commercial and financial entity from entering negotiations with the alleged cartel leader.

This is the 14th action by the U.S. authorities against the CJNG, which found itself designated back in April of 2015 by the OFAC as playing an important role in the international drug trafficking trade, as well exposing its number one leader, Rubén “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, during that same time.

That same April, the OFAC condemned the CJNG for its responsibility in trafficking deadly narcotics such as fentanyl into the United States from Mexico, as well as denouncing several companies and individuals tightly linked with the Jalisco-based cartel.

Flores Silva is alleged to help control the CJNG’s territory along Mexico’s Pacific coast, including the state of Nayarit, and the indictment against him charged “The Gardener” with various crimes, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin with the intention to sell, knowledge that such substances would be illegally imported into the United States and the use of a firearms to promote a drug trafficking conspiracy, all of which “represents a great threat to the United States.”

The high-up CJNG member previously served a five-year sentence in the United States on drug trafficking charges, but returned to Mexico afterwards, where he was arrested in 2016 under charges relating to an ambush against police, though he was released from prison after fighting the charges in Mexico’s court system.

“OFAC is committed to working with our interagency partners to target all facets of Mexico’s most important drug trafficking organizations, whose members continue to flood our streets with fentanyl and other deadly drugs,” said OFAC Director Andrea Gacki.

The CJNG is well-known in Mexico for using violence to expand its influence, having gained an even stronger foothold in the country in the past year by taking advantage of the destabilizing effects of the covid-19 pandemic. 

…April 16, 2021

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