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

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Mexican Authorities Have No Idea Where Tijuana Cartel Boss 'El Sillas' Is Imprisoned

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Authorities have described Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha as a prolific hitman responsible for killing 20 to 30 people a month during the cartel’s heyday in Tijuana.
High-ranking Tijuana Cartel member Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha, alias 'El Sillas' or 'El Ruedas', was arrested on 4 November 2011 in Tijuana, Baja California. He is behind bars for organized crime involvement and kidnapping charges, and is also wanted by US authorities for drug trafficking and murder.

However, El Sillas is currently "lost" in Mexico's federal penitentiary system and prison authorities have no idea where he is.

This bizarre situation began on 19 February 2020, when El Sillas asked a judge in Jalisco to transfer him from the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 2 ("Puente Grande") to a state-level penitentiary citing health concerns.

El Sillas argued that he wanted to change prisons because he required special health check-ups for only having one kidney. In 2005, he donated one of his kidneys and said that he required "dialysis treatment up to twice a day".

El Sillas claimed that this service was not adequately provided in Puente Grande. He added that the state penitentiary he applied to did have a hemodialysis unit and specialized doctors for his health condition.

The Jalisco judge first asked prison authorities to provide him with El Sillas's health records, but nothing was sent to him.

In March 2020, the judge called El Sillas for an in-person hearing. However, prison authorities advised against an in-person hearing because of the dangerousness of El Sillas.

"Given the high risk and dangerousness index of the detainee, coupled with the possibility that upon his way to court there could be an attempt to refuse him, we advise against it", prison authorities said.

El Sillas hearing was ordered to be held through videoconference.

The presiding judge asked prison authorities to facilitate a room in jail for El Sillas to take the video meeting. However, the meeting was postponed multiple times.

On 7 July 2020, the health record checkup meeting was cancelled indefinitely after Puente Grande cited Wi-Fi issues.

In late 2020, El Sillas's defense team was able to show that the theft charge El Sillas was facing should not preside in a federal court because it fell under state jurisdiction. When a judge took the case in December, El Sillas's location was unknown.

"The presiding judge has been unable to proceed with his criminal proceedings ... because the whereabouts of [El Sillas] have not been confirmed to us by Mexico's federal penitentiary system", the court confirmed.

It is worth noting that Puente Grande prison closed in September, as reported by Borderland Beat.

A federal agency was responsible for transferring every inmate in Puente Grande to other prisons in Mexico, including the Federal Social Readaptation Centers in Oaxaca (#13), Chiapas (#15), Michoacan (#17), and Coahuila (#18). The court presiding over El Sillas's case asked each of these prisons to confirm if he was there, but they have not received any information yet.

The Mexican military presents El Sillas during a press conference. This form of presenting criminals in front of reporters was popular in the administration of Felipe Calderon, but it has largely been abandoned over the years.

US indictment
El Sillas was indicted in a federal court district in North Dakota in March 2011 for his involvement in drug trafficking and attempted homicide.

A month earlier, his brother Jorge Ernesto Sillas Rocha, a dual Mexican and US citizen, was arrested in Los Angeles, California, on a murder-for-hire plot charge.

Agents with the Department of Justice received information about a possible murder-for-hire plot targeting victims who resided in California and had 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.

El Sillas allegedly offered a San Diego street gang $25,000 to kill them, paying $4,000 in advance. When the gang couldn’t find his targets, El Sillas upped his offer to $50,000 if the killings could be done quickly. He later ordered another man to kill an entire family inside their home, investigators said.

In El Sillas indictment, he is also charged with the June 2005 murder of Lee Avila, a trafficker of the Tijuana Cartel that was killed in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Investigators determined that the assassins were following orders of Jorge Arandas ('Sneaky'), who coordinated the Tijuana Cartel operations in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The motive? Failing to pay for five pounds of methamphetamine that Arandas originally received from El Sillas. Arandas told police he feared that he would be killed for not paying him, so he had Avila murdered to show strength.

Mexican authorities say El Sillas participated in the 2010 kidnapping of three women in the family of Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada, who was at the top of the Sinaloa cartel at the time alongside Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. El Sillas allegedly was retaliating for the disappearance of his sister that year.

Sources: Zeta Tijuana; AP; Borderland Beat archives


  1. Mexican government is a fkn joke!

  2. Probably making deals with snitchaloans like el flakito.

    1. Or smoking broken windows with tweerchoacanos from cjng

    2. Or plotting on who will they snitch on next. These guys moms never told them "que no andubieran de chismosos" 😂😂

    3. 1:56 first of all:
      No anden ahi de calientes, porque eso es lo que se sacan
      --Don't be a horny ass
      because that what you get

  3. Locating this individual is harder than solving e=mc2

    1. E=mc2 is already solved, you wrote the answer yourself. Lmao

  4. Its been 10yrs, most sentences are 10yrs. Hes more likely been released.

  5. Lmao in other words “ ya se nos pelo”

  6. And here I thought I was the only one capable of miracles! Somos varios Unos.
    La cellda los dio cuelga y hoy no aye ninguna reja. Sieren las barras que se hoyga la serada porque firma ya esta tratada. Where is he? I doen speek engliche. Or spanik. I dunno waty taky

    1. 5:02 com'her and get on all fours, i promis i won' spankiu.

  7. He's the one who shot Israel Verga Galindo aka Marquitos in Tijuana,that's how he was captured. Marquitos was with Farrah Fresnedo, who was kidnapped March 8th in TJ, and was released today.

    Sillas and Aquiles used to hang mantas and bodies at eachother in Tijuana around 2010

    He's for sure been released. His Dad was said to still work in Baja too.

    1. Didn't Inge give the green light for him to be arrested ? Or was that just a myth ?

    2. Don't fuck around wiff El Mayo Zambada and expect to get a free transfer ticket out of Puente Grande, el Sillas may still be there in his cell

  8. So his dad paid of the prison admin to let him out?

    What better way to escape!

  9. Its rumored that Sillas has a boat at Puerto Salina and hangs out there once in a while just to chill..


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