On the evening of May 22, 2013, Mexican lawyer Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa went shopping with his wife at Southlake Town Square in Texas. Guerrero Chapa sat in the passenger seat of his Range Rover, as his wife loaded bags into the back. Before he knew it, a white Toyota Sequoia pulled up behind the vehicle. A masked gunman jumped out and blasted shots at Guerrero Chapa with a 9 mm. Though his wife was unharmed, Guerrero Chapa died due to the gunshot wounds.
Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda was arrested for the murder, along with his son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano Jr., and cousin Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes. The father and son are former citizens of Mexico, where they were police officers. They were charged with federal counts of interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Three have been charged in sealed indictments, but remain fugitives. However, the slain attorney wasn’t who is says he is, according to the arrested. According to Ledezma-Cepeda’s attorneys, Guerrero Chapa was the leader of the infamous Gulf Cartel, at the time of his death.
The plot to kill Guerrero Chapa began as early as March 2011, shortly before he closed on a $1.2 million house in Southlake, according to court filings.
Guerrero Chapa, personal lawyer to Gulf cartel boss Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, was an informant for U.S. law enforcement. Cárdenas is serving a 25-year sentence in a U.S. prison.
But Wes Ball and J. Warren St. John, defense attorneys for Ledezma-Cepeda, said Guerrero Chapa took control of the cartel after Cárdenas’ arrest in 2003 in Mexico. Cárdenas was extradited to the U.S. for prosecution in 2007.
“As head of the CDG [Gulf cartel], the deceased Chapa ran a large criminal enterprise whose activities included murders, narcotics trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, bribery, money laundering and torture,” the filing said.
Court documents filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua T. Burgess indicate that Guerrero Chapa received calls from “others” warning him of stalkers and advising him to stay on point. He wrote, “Contrary to this expressed fear is the fact that Chapa continued his association with criminal enterprises which included his use of cocaine.”
According to FOX News, the prosecution accuses the suspects of installing a tracking device on Guerrero Chapa’s Range Rover and cameras around his home. It is believed that they used at least eight different cars to track the lawyer. When the Ledezmas were arrested as they attempted to cross the border into the United States, three surveillance devices were found in the Volkswagen Jetta they were in. FOX reports further:
The government believes the defendants are involved in the death or disappearance of nine other men in Mexico who went missing from 2011 to 2014. Some of the murdered men had tracking devices placed on their vehicles by the defendants, prosecutors said in court filings. Others were named in the defendants’ emails, records show.
On Feb. 23 of this year, Moisés Tijerina de la Garza – Guerrero Chapa’s brother-in-law – was shot to death in Monterrey, Mexico. According to court documents filed by Burgess, his contact information was found in Ledezma-Cepeda’s email.
According to the Morning News, some witnesses will testify for the defense about Guerrero Chapa’s family having been kidnapped by cartel member and released based on an agreement.
The trial is set for April 25 in Fort Worth.