Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"El Ruedas" Sicario cell arrested in California

Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha, aka "El Ruedas"

Three men believed to be involved in a murder-for-hire plot commissioned by the Tijuana drug cartel were arrested this past Thursday in an early morning raid in Palmdale, California, a community located in northern Los Angeles county.

According to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Jorge Ernesto Sillas-Rocha, 27, and 24-year-old Victor Manuel Magana Gonzalez were taken into custody during the 6:50 a.m. raid at a Palmdale home. The two were accused of conspiracy and murder-for-hire.

Special agents from the California Department of Justice seized two AR- 15 assault weapons, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and about $20,000 in cash.

A third suspect, 34-year-old Daniel Ceballos, was arrested later at a Starbucks Coffee shop nearby, officials said.

"This case sends a message to the border drug cartels trying to do business here: Justice will be swift and certain when you cross into California," Harris said, “I applaud our agents and law enforcement partners for their good work in uncovering and thwarting this murder-for-hire plot."

Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha, also known as "Ruedas," is also expected to be charged in the case. The 33-year-old is suspected to be a lieutenant in the Arrellano Felix Organization, and is suspected to be responsible for dozens of murders and kidnappings in Mexico.

Investigators said Juan Sillas-Rocha directed the suspects to kill five family members in California in a staged home-invasion robbery. The would-be assassins were to be paid thousands for committing the killings, officials said.

Earlier this month, agents with the Department of Justice received information about a possible murder-for-hire plot targeting victims who reside in California and who have ties to the Arrellano Felix Cartel. The targeted victims were said to have owed the cartel a large sum of money, believed to be the proceeds from drug sales. Agents used sophisticated investigative techniques to track the suspects to Palmdale, northeast of Los Angeles.

According to the Zeta Tijuana newsweekly magazine, Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha has been under intensive wiretap surveillance by U.S. authorities and his brother, Jorge Ernesto, and a mistress were under continuous physical surveillance as they frequently crossed the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Fernando Sanchez Arrellano, the boss of the Arrellano Felix Cartel, was also implicated in the plot. That investigation is ongoing.

Jorge Ernesto Sillas-Rocha, Gonzalez and Ceballos are being held in the San Diego County Jail. Officials expect a warrant to be issued for Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha's arrest.

Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha allegedly commands cells of kidnappers, assassins and drug traffickers for the Tijuana cartel, also known as the CAF (Cartel Arrellano Felix).

El Ruedas’ violent unpredictability and the recent kidnapping of three female relatives of “El Mayo” Zambada, which he is believed to have ordered, is thought to have led to his isolation from Fernando Sanchez Arrellano and to a price on his head from the Sinaloa cartel.
Cartels crumbling in Tijuana
Por: Omar Millán 17 Febrero 2011
San Diego RED

Criminal groups no longer operate effectively, Baja California state police top official says just before his sudden retirement this week.

The drug cartels that once ruled parts of the border region have disintegrated to the point where they are no longer able to operate effectively, declared one of the officials most responsible for fighting them in the last few years.

Julián Leyzaola, deputy director of the state’s Department of Public Safety, said that the combined law enforcement efforts of federal, state and municipal governments have greatly reduced the cartels’ ability to bribe public officials to be able to operate freely.

Leyzaola, a retired lieutenant in the Mexican army, directed Tijuana’s municipal police department in 2008 then led its parent agency, the Department of Public Safety, in 2009 and 2010. This year he began a new post, helping craft the state’s strategy to combat organized crime.

In that period, he led an unprecedented campaign against corruption within police ranks. More than 600 officers suspected of working with traffickers resigned or were fired, including 84 who were arrested. A total of 43 officers were murdered under his watch, as well.

“Criminal groups continue to be fragmented. There isn’t a real organization, one group that controls the area because police activity in Tijuana is no longer allowing it,” he said Wednesday after attending an event to promote a new state center to receive anonymous tips.

Even so, Leyzaola admitted that criminal cells associated with the Michoacán-based cartel known La Familia are trying to gain control of the local market.

La Familia, he said, is fighting the other groups for the right to move drugs, mainly methamphetamine. These groups inherited criminal cells from Teodoro “El Teo” García Simental, who was arrested in January of 2010, and Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sánchez Arellano, the leader of the Arellano Félix cartel, who remains at large.

La Familia has been moving drugs through the border for two years, paying a “fee” to the cartel that controlled the area to be able to do so. As Familia members grew the business, however, they demanded more territory, and now are pushing to own the entire local market, he said.

“I believe that it’s now a fight among La Familia and the other criminal groups,” Leyzaola said.

“They’re doing it in a very low profile. They are not controlling a specific area, they can’t. It’s very difficult to control the Tijuana area; police officers are so well deployed that traffickers don’t have the opportunity to organize and can’t be sure of being able to move around easily and to sell (drugs),” said Leyzaola.

In the last two months, authorities have seized large quantities of synthetic drugs in two secret meth laboratories that presumably belonged to La Familia cartel.

“Initially, La Familia transported drugs,” he said. “Now, they are making them here.”

In this new reality of trafficking, anonymous tips made to either police agencies or the Mexican army have played an important role, Leyzaola added. Many arrests and drug seizures began with an anonymous tip.

Despite the lack of organization among the criminal groups, the deadly violence continues. In fact, experts say that disorganization breeds more violence because agreements among the criminal groups are ignored and cells fight one another for control. A total of 820 people were killed last year in Tijuana alone, 23 less than in 2008, the most violent year in the city’s history.

3 Suspected cartel hitmen face charges…….

Sillas, amparo y corrupcion

Cartels crumbling in Tijuana


  1. Good story. I love all the Tijuana stuff. The latest Zeta said 'Chairs' was left on his own by Engineer, after the Mayo incident, who knows whats really going on. Executing a family of five though? Must have been a lot of money. I don't know how to feel about Leyazola, it's undeniable he had a certain charm to him, and was effective, esp. against Teo, but unfortunately I believe all the torture allegations too, or even of a handful are true.

    I like to think Tijuana is making progress, and moving further and further away from ultra violent border towns.

    If Chairs brother was doing hits in Palmdale, what is going on with that? The guy was getting his hands dirty I guess. Chairs has been on the radar for a while though, this isn't surprising. Also, wouldn't be surprised if the Operation Luz Verde suspects gave up some info that led to this.

  2. El Ingeniero is a bitch. He doesn't carry the weight he inherited. Notice the word inherited. He hasn't made his bones yet. He is probably on an isle in the Carib hiding in a hut and sweating in fear.

    I am surprised that CLM is still active after their banners. Interesting turn. I wonder who is daddy now?

    Nice drama. Too bad they don't broadcast it. I could sit at home and smoke some good weed that I grew and laugh at these idiots......

  3. It makes you wonder J ... the talk of LFM and other who pay CAF for the rights to move their product through TJ... well its no surprise that they have now gotten their foot in the door and are looking to take over the entire market.

    I know that TJ has been relatively calm when compared to other plaza'a, but I think CDS and LFM see the weakness in El Inge's non-aggression strategy and are gonna make a serious move sooner or later. Although the CAF managed to stave off a war when El Mayo's Niece was abducted, I don't think LFM is quite as willing to bargain. i think its stupid of El Inge to let these other groups gain a foothold in his own backyard. The CAF strategy seems to be to buy off its enemies and rivals... But there will come a day when all the CAF money won't be enough to keep CDS and LFM troops from making serious moves for TJ.

    Especially if the other Sillas brother goes down, it will signal even further weakness to the other jackals... CAF seems to be a lot of money and cerebro, but very little muscle to back it up (at least enough to make LFM and CDS back off)..

  4. party's over for these guys.

    now its time for CIA to debrief them of everything they know


  5. Who would have thought El Ruedas was in the U.S.
    Something smell sof Desperation.

  6. There are conflicting reports on the status of LFM in Tijuana, I read a month ago they pay to play in the plaza, and then this week that they didn't, and are looking to control the domestic market. I really don't know whats going on. It's hard to tell, whos weak, and who's just desperately trying to stay off the radar. I haven;t heard anything from CAF, no arrests of any significant, nothing since last July, Luz Verde. Gordo went to Guadelejara. As far as Engineer, he fought off Teo, a civil war of the worst kind, and literally is a ghost to the authorities, no extortion, violence is down, I think he's doing alright.

    Sinaloa only has a presence in Tijuana thru the CAF traitors, for whatever that's worth. CAF members have always had heavy ties, (obviously) in CA, they are all reported to cross the border frequently.

  7. Interesting article. The violence in Tijuana is just as bad or worse than it was before Leyzaola took over. Additionally, 90% of those 600 officers fired for corruption were never convicted or even charged officially. Even after many were exonerated they were not allowed back on the police force. Some of them were brutally tortured using electrical shock and waterboarding on the main Military base in Tijuana and in a building next to the TJ airport. The number or terminations and arrests make for good statistics though, too bad there are few convistions due to zero evidence. If any legitimate jounalist wants proof of the above, leave your contact information on this board and we will contact you.

  8. I think the people have a right to the information you have just described 4:40.

    Strong-hand tactics are sometimes necessary when you are dealing with killers who dismember people, don't you think? You mention how the dirty police might have been dealt with, but no information on how criminals were dealt with or if there were prosecutions. And if these dirty police were aiding and participating in killings, kidnappings, extortion and mutilitation, they certainly deserve more that a slap on the wrist.

    I think you lean way to far to the 'human rights' pole without thinking that desparate measures sometimes require desparate measures to be stopped. And I doubt the officers (dirty or not) under this police chief were chopped up into pieces and dumped on their family's dooresteps.

    So before you criticize, I think your criticism should be measured by the gravity of the situation and all accounts should be looked at. Just to be fair.

  9. Layla2, you sound like Dickhead Cheney. Your argument goes... 'We' need to suspend the Constitutional rights of people and use torture on them, all because y(our) fearless leaders say that others are worse than they are themselves.

    Layla2, I think you lean way to far to the 'death squad' pole without thinking that ugly measures themselves can be worse than the enemy they supposedly are designed to stop. Just to be honest, I think that you are more dangerous then the enemies who you think you are fighting against.

  10. No, they weren't, and my feelings on Leyazola are on this page, but the allegations aren't kid stuff, it's torture, suffocations, brutal beatings. Just something to consider.

  11. From the new Zeta:

    "Fernando Sánchez Arellano is almost gone. Se ha venido escuchando la mención de otro sobrino, aparentemente hijo de Benjamín, al que apodan 'Franky', pero la madre y este joven tienen sus familias y lealtades con el Cártel de Sinaloa. It has been hearing the words of another nephew, apparently the son of Benjamin, who was nicknamed 'Franky', but the mother and the young have their families and loyalties to the Sinaloa Cartel. Sin embargo se sabe que ha estado operando aquí y en coordinación con sus familiares políticos del CAF”, explicó un investigador. However, it is known to have been operating here and in coordination with CAF political family, "said an investigator.

    No idea if it's true, but I'd love to see it translated in full, (the whole article).

  12. erny..what... ardy no mas?

    i agree that to erode our civil protections designed to protect us from torture and unjust treatment at the hands of the "authorities" in order to gain information from miscreants is a slippery slope


    just how do you get information from these guys...most of who are unrepentant and guilty as all hell...they look at civil rights and constitutional protections as just loopholes and opportunities to game the system

    for real, just what do you suggest as a way to deal with such hardened criminals and serial murderers...

    just how would you deal with a guy who cuts people up with a chainsaw?...

    rehab?..counseling?..hold hands and pray?

    once again you condemn, but offer no solution...

    how about it ...what would you do if one of these guys had one of your friends or a relative hidden away ... and their life depended on your ability to find out where they have the guy ...he is smiling at you ..taunting you ...tic toc..time is running out ...what do you do?...tic toc ...lecture the guy?...hands around throat?...tic toc ...tic toc..time is running out


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