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

Friday, April 29, 2016

Southlake Trial 1st Week roundup; Hatfield & McCoy feud; Chapa's sister orders beheading.

Posted by DD republished from Dallas Morning News
DD: We reported earlier in the week on the opening statements in the federal trial of two of the men on trial in Ft Worth, Texas accused of Interstate Stalking with intent to kill and conspiracy to commit murder of a Mexican cartel lawyer who was slain in a murder-for-hire plot in Southlake, a suburb of Ft. Worth.

The trial has proceeded pretty much as expected but with some surprises in the testimony   Murders and violence have been going on across Mexico and also some in the U.S. for decades that involve family members of 2 cartel leaders that are not drug or cartel related but a result of a family feud. 

Below are excerpts from the Dallas Morning News covering testimony on Wed., Thursday, and today. Excerpts from Dallas Morning News Wed. testimony:

FORT WORTH — The men on trial in the hunting down of a Mexican drug cartel lawyer as part of a murder-for-hire plot left behind valuable clues in a Southlake shopping center, investigators testified on Wednesday.

A magnetic GPS tracker stuck to the frame underneath Guerrero Chapa’s Range Rover helped Ledezma Cepeda and his son locate and follow the victim to Southlake Town Square, where he was gunned down by a two-man cartel hit squad.

That same tracker also led federal agents to Cepeda Cortes, who prosecutors say set up an account for that device and five other trackers using a fake name but a real email address.

Jeff Lloyd, a DEA analyst, testified that the devices were purchased from a spy shop in McAllen.
Cepeda Cortes lived in nearby Edinburg.

The FBI and DEA use the same Blackline GPS trackers to follow suspects accused of crimes as part of their routine investigations, Lloyd said. Agents identified Ledezema Cepeda in part through email he exchanged with his cousin, investigators said during the trial. They said they then matched a palm print left on Guerrero Chapa’s Range Rover to Ledezma Cepeda’s prints taken after his arrest.

Guerrero Chapa was Gulf cartel kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillen’s personal emissary and attorney, and he was also involved in drug trafficking, according to sources. He also was a U.S. informant who provided agents with key information about the Gulf cartel and its former paramilitary arm, Los Zetas, sources say. 

The shadowy and sinister Beltran Leyva cartel leader known as “El Gato” waited years to get permission to take out the Southlake lawyer he wanted dead, and he spent about $1 million of his money on the effort.

So when he learned that Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was gunned down in May 2013, Gato threw a big party in Mexico with as much beer as he could get his hands on, according to testimony from the government’s star witness Thursday during a murder trial.

At the party was Gato’s top surveillance man, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, who had spent about two years tracking (DD searching for then following) Guerrero Chapa using public records and high-tech spy gadgets, authorities say. Ledezma-Cepeda also tracked at least nine other men for Gato who later vanished or were found murdered, prosecutors said.

Thursday’s star witness was Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano Jr., 32 (Above left). Ledezma-Cepeda and his cousin, Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, 59, are being tried on charges of interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire in connection with the Guerrero Chapa slaying.

After the party, Gato, whose real name is Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez, had Ledezma-Cepeda try to find some of Guerrero Chapa’s family members in the U.S., according to authorities.

When he was arrested in September 2014 with GPS trackers in his car while trying to enter the U.S., Ledezma-Cepeda was still working for Gato, his son said.

Gato hired Ledezma-Cepeda to find Guerrero Chapa because he held the lawyer responsible for his father’s murder about a decade earlier.
Ledezma-Campano, who helped his father track the victim, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and agreed to testify in exchange for protection for his wife and young children. They are believed to be living in the U.S. with visas that were arranged by the U.S. government.

Cepeda-Cortes, who lived in South Texas, is accused of providing logistical support to the father-and-son surveillance team.

Ledezma-Cepeda wiped tears from his eyes after his son, wearing an orange jumpsuit, was led into the courtroom Thursday by U.S. marshals.

Ledezma-Campano also became emotional when he first spoke about his father, who he last saw when they were arrested in September 2014 while trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico.

When Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua T. Burgess asked him why he was testifying, Ledezma-Campano said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

The shooter who killed Guerrero Chapa at Southlake Town Square and the getaway driver are considered fugitives.

‘Close friends’

A clearer picture of Gato and his alleged relationship with Ledezma-Cepeda emerged during the son’s testimony.

The cartel leader, a former Mexican federal police officer, had an explosive temper and would not hesitate to torture or murder those who crossed him, Ledezma-Campano said.

Gato had asked the Beltran Leyva family for permission to kill Guerrero Chapa when Gato’s father was killed about a decade ago, but his request was denied, the son said.

But when Guerrero Chapa and his client, a Gulf cartel kingpin, cut a deal with the U.S. government, the Beltran Leyva cartel entered into a pact with the Gulf cartel, according to the son.

The Gulf cartel, which felt betrayed by Guerrero Chapa, did not object to the murder plot. And Gato was given the go-ahead from his bosses to kill him, according to the son.

Ledezma-Campano also testified that his father and Gato were “really close friends.”

During a hunting trip in Mexico after the murder, Gato and Ledezma-Cepeda slept in the same area, rode together in the same vehicle and shared some of the best hunting spots on the ranch, according to the son. And Gato gave the father a BMW truck as a gift, he said.

Ledezma-Campano said his father also was friendly with Arturo Beltran Leyva and his brother, Hector, who ran the cartel. Gato was Arturo’s right-hand man, he said.

Ledezma-Campano also said during testimony that Gato tried to have him killed when he tried to pull out of the plot. By that time, he had been to Florida with his father to perform surveillance on Guerrero Chapa’s brother. Later, while in Mexico, he was headed home from work on his motorcycle when some of Gato’s men shot at him, he said.

The men drove over him several times, leaving him with multiple injuries that required hospitalization, he said. After recuperating, he returned to working for his father to find Guerrero Chapa, he said.

Ledezma-Cepeda’s attorneys say their client was coerced into working for Gato out of fear for his safety and the safety of his family.

Working for the cartel

The son also described how he became involved with Gato.

He said that around 2010, he and his father both worked for the police in San Pedro, an affluent neighborhood in Monterrey that was left largely alone in the cartel battles. In addition to the city’s business elite, some gangsters also lived there.

The billionaire mayor, Mauricio Fernandez, wanted people to think he kept the peace by enlisting a secret force of hundreds called “El Grupo Rudo,” or the Rough Group. The idea was that some bad guys were needed to keep the bad guys in check.

**( DD Borderland Beat has several stories about Mayor Fernandez that can be read by putting his name in the search box on the lower right of this page.  One of them from the NYT is here)

But in fact, Grupo Rudo had only four primary members including Ledezma-Cepeda, the mayor and the San Pedro police chief.

Fernandez had actually formed a pact with the Beltran Leyva cartel to keep the peace in his town by allowing them free rein, the father previously told agents. Grupo Rudo had contacts within the Beltran Leyva cartel whom they bought information from, according to the father.

Ledezma-Campano said his father was friends with a Beltran Leyva plaza boss, or regional leader, named Alberto “Chico Malo” Mendoza. The son said Mendoza was like an uncle to him.

When Mendoza was arrested by the Mexican marines in 2010, the cartel wanted to find the rat. Only three people knew where he had lived: the mayor, Ledezma-Cepeda and the police chief.

Gato questioned Ledezma-Cepeda and was satisfied that he wasn’t the snitch. He told him to find out who was, the son said.

The father enlisted his son, Ledezma-Campano, who was tech savvy and knew how to program electronic trackers. The son said his first job for Gato was to put a tracking device on the police chief’s truck. The chief was eventually killed.

The sister of a Mexican cartel lawyer who was slain in a murder-for-hire plot in Southlake took revenge against the rival cartel leader she believed was responsible by having his relative beheaded, according to witness testimony Friday.

That claim came during the federal trial here of two men accused of stalking Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa prior to his May 2013 murder at Southlake Town Square.

Friday’s witness, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Campano, testified for a second day against his father, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda, 59, and their cousin, Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes, 60.

The father and son are accused of hunting down Guerrero Chapa over several months using high-tech surveillance equipment with help from their cousin. The assassin and getaway driver remain fugitives.

Ledezma Campano, 32, has pleaded guilty to one of the two charges against him. He said the victim’s sister hired someone to kill a female relative of Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez, a Beltran Leyva cartel leader known as “El Gato,” to avenge her brother’s killing.

Gato had ordered the murder of Guerrero Chapa because he held the Gulf cartel lawyer responsible for his father’s murder in Mexico years earlier, Ledezma Campano said.

Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa

Ledezma Campano testified that the victim’s sister sent Gato a video of the severed head of his relative. The exact nature of the relationship between Gato and the slain relative was not disclosed.

After that, Gato had Ledezma Cepeda try to find Guerrero Chapa’s relatives living in the U.S., according to the son.

Guerrero Chapa’s sister, Dariela Chapa, is listed as a possible defense witness in the case. Her whereabouts were not disclosed Friday.

Killings continue

Ledezma Campano testified that the families of Gato and Guerrero Chapa have been feuding since both men were children.

And killings related to the decades-long hostility appear to continue.

As recently as Feb. 23, Guerrero Chapa’s brother-in-law was found shot to death in Monterrey, Mexico.

Contact information for the dead man, Moises Tijerina De La Garza, was found in Ledezma Cepeda’s emails, court records show.

Gato, a former federal agent in Mexico, claimed to have protection from the president of Mexico, according to Ledezma Campano. That claim could not be confirmed Friday with Mexican officials.

He said Gato and his brother would cross into the U.S. using the Trusted Traveler lanes made available by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The special lanes provide expedited travel for “pre-approved, low-risk travelers,” according to the federal agency.

Gato is considered a fugitive. The U.S. government has not released any information about him or offered a reward for his capture.

Ledezma Campano said Gato is a violent, short-tempered man who uses murder and torture — as well as an agreement with police — to remain in power. The son said Gato interrogated people in a tire shop with a bloody chain saw hanging on the wall.

The son said Gato’s former partner in the federal police, a man known as “Pelon,” also was involved in the conspiracy and traveled to North Texas with the defendants while they searched for Guerrero Chapa.

‘Clorox’ and the ‘Captain’

Ledezma Campano also gave more information about the man who is alleged to have shot Guerrero Chapa. He said the man earned the nickname “Clorox” because he always uses that brand of bleach to clean up after the work he did for Gato, the son said.

The getaway driver is known as “Captain” because he was a captain in the Mexican police, he said.

Both men also served as Gato’s bodyguards in Mexico, he said.

Cepeda Cortes’ attorney, Robert Rogers, suggested to Ledezma Campano during cross-examination Friday that he implicated his client in January in return for a deal with the government.

Rogers said Ledezma Campano previously told federal agents that his cousin did not know about a murder plot.

Ledezma Campano had faced life in prison. But because of his plea deal, he could receive 25 years to life. His sentence could further be reduced because he has agreed to help the government with unrelated criminal investigations.

Ledezma Campano said he has about 20 relatives in Monterrey, Mexico — including his wife — who have to keep moving to stay safe. He said they fear reprisals from Gato, Guerrero Chapa’s family and the Mexican government.


  1. Good reporting DD.Kind of an interesting trial as it's held in US and of course you would not get any of these details in a Mexican 1.

  2. DD is this "El Gato", he is speaking of the same one arrested in 2012 for kidnapping? That one was with the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas. He was a football player. Just wondering with the statements saying he may have government protection. So he could have been released. Also these guys bounce around and splinter so much, it is hard to keep track. lol

    1. Dude this gato was a former federal agent lol... Not the goalkeeper for Necaxa and Monterrey

    2. @9:28 I don't think it is the same guy. The reason I say that is that I have read dozens of stories on him looking for info and/or photo. I think it was in an "Economist" story that said he had never been arrested. I also can't find a photo that i can verify is him Talk about low profile and good protection.

      One of the defense attorneys in the trial asked the son who is testifying against his father and uncle on cross examination if el Gato enjoyed protection provided by the President and he replied that he heard El Gato make that statement. He couldn't remember if it was when Caulderon was in office or EPN.

    3. "El Gato" mexican futbol soccer player.
      --in prison in Nuevo Leon for kidnapping...
      I read somewhere an interview with him about the time of the Topo Chico prison riot in Monterrey

    4. 11:48 "el gato" is a futbol soccer player in prison in monerrey, the other "el gato" was a police officer in monterrey, from guanajuato, became BLO operator, that is the one these guys are talking about...
      la barbie was a cheerleader like W, who also became a gangster after cheering for the american football teams in high school...

  3. Ok all you cheer leaders for the bad guys . Call him a snitch and all you want to call him . If in his position all you sociopaths will do the same thing . Oh hell you might even implicate your own mother for good measure.
    Ethical people don't find themselves connected with this crap .

    1. Just remember the organization comes before your own blood once you get ritualed in.hes a snitch.shouldve took it like a man no code no honor for his papi.i would much rather put myself in el gatos shoes than be in this punks place.difference is gato killed for his dad this guy might get his dad killed.pinche panochon

    2. Yeah, what he said ^^^^^^^^^^^

    3. 9:01 Gatos and gatas, wear no shoes, enbesil, ritualized...
      please God take me now

  4. Well you can check off the whole Ledezma Campano family out of Monterey, that makes more room for others

  5. Witness Protection Program is the way to go...that just creates more jobs in Law Enforcement.

  6. U tell them chapo!

    1. 8:36 Monterrey NL. All beltranuses, golfas and setas with arellanuses, equal not the sugar substitute but the new enhanced PRI elite international murderers, all connected to el PRI AND PVEM, remember El H was found hiding in guanajuato protected by his partners PVEM PARTY politicians and transa expert businessmen, funny how many mexican politicians invest all over the US, from rodrigo medina, former NL governor, the moreiros and, voilá javier duarte de ochoa...
      --I'd say these guys are PRI/government assassins for hire...
      --any news on the murder of former federal boss Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni? He put his ass on the line for the DEA and the mexican government involvement in shit with the CIA, in the open, but there seems to be NO interest in his case, maybe he did not have as much cash and property that anybody wants to go after, or a "daddy murdered by rival mañosos"

    2. You could ask McAllen police department. Goodluck

  7. I'm sure the father understands why his son has the turned on him but it must be wrenching for the son to trade his father off in order to spare his wife/children from likely revenge. Interesting read from the get go. Thanks BB

    _Canadian girl

    1. Yeah that's true.What a choice to have to make!

    2. @Canadian girl,


    3. My opinion he had a choice N life N he wanted the fast life. ....people's should understand the outkome plain N simple

    4. Hey, what the? I'm the real Canadiana! Lol

    5. Wow i would die before i would testimony against my family. What's the cartel coming to. The old mob like Don Juan would never talk.They not Men all cry babies

    6. 12:46 BESITOS TO THE REAL ONE...💋 💋 💋 💋 💋 💋 💋 plus one for chivis,💋
      @8:19 the chamaquiaron, le besastes la pelona por mañoso...

    7. Canadiana apparently some poser wants 2 be you. I know what you're going through. Hey remember they can always imitate but never duplicate you. Lol. El Sol Perdido

    8. I've been replaced ....:)

    9. @chivis. Even if you don't realize it, everyone knows you can never be replaced.

    10. El Sol Perdido-12:46 wasn't my comment.Your were right.To set the record straight AGAIN-Canadiana is a different handle than Canadian girl.Yes I replied to her.Different people.You guys think there is only 1 Canadian on here out of 35 million?Canadian girl has been on here longer than me.Me:2 years and I blog a lot but I do like the way she thinks!And no Chivis DD is right you can never be replaced.You know too damn much and hey we do get our share of Romeos on here don't we.There's 1 guy on here that always calls me canna.I think that's a neat handle and that way I know it's him.

    11. Canna, wives #1 and #2 and #3 can not be replaced, it is a pity that there are so many good for nothing "men"
      --Chiva, you can not be replaced, just helped💋 💋 💋
      Atentamente: the dreamboat the moon of el sol dreams about...

    12. Hahahahaha, Sol, once AGAIN you have been proven wrong! "Canadian girl" and "Canadiana" are two different people. The handles are similar but different. Plus, both Canadian girl and Canadiana confirmed they are two different people a while back. Canadian girl has been posting on BB much longer than Canadiana. Anyways, more BESITOS for Canadian girl muuaahh...

    13. Uh oh Canadian girl has resurfaced and the BB rookies that don't know the difference between Canadiana/ Canadian girl are dumbfounded and shocked. Ah the drama you pendejos bring to this fine site.

      Chivis you are still the dime piece in this outfit. Nooooooo one can ever ever ever replace you. Besos from Oeste Tejas mamacita.

  8. No, ethical people only buy the white americans are the biggest consumer of drugs yet you fucks act like its the mexicans fault......its called supply and demand

    1. And the kidnappings? Too many vulnerable people walking around I suppose.
      Fucking pesky victims giving mexico a bad name.

    2. U r rght users r the problem i was a user how many people i am i responsible for Killing User rvthe killer. HEY user u use u Kill

    3. Mexico is not the problem
      Americans buy the stuff quit Buying

    4. It's not white Americans . It's Americans in general that consume drugs.

  9. Women are worse than man in the game often!

  10. Is there a Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez El Gato picture?

    1. @1:46. I did a good bit of searching and couldn't find a photo of him. If any reader has one, please email it to me or the location where you found it.
      Thank you in advance.

    2. If you just Google search him he comes right up, on images section, if that's really him.

    3. @5:10. I did check the Google photo section when I was doing the story and just now again after I read your comment. There are probably hundreds of different people that show up on that search. Basketball players, musicins, public officials, a bunch of women etc.

      On the ones that looked like a "maybe", I checked the page source for the photo and the story that accompanied the photo and none of them fit what little we do know about el Gato.

  11. I think i have been to that "spy shop" that was owned by a former McAllen police officer. Nice guy. Ironically its less than a 3o second drive to where they killed the high up guy in daylight in from of attorneys office. They did a story about him in GQ? Forgot his name. Former head of Mexican Drug police. Never caught those 2 either. They let the bodyguard live.

  12. Por eso es mejor trabajar derecho i tener cuentas claras por algo yo sigo aqui despues de tanto cochinero ke e deja pero siempre a lo derecho le e tirado
    -pistolero de manuel torrez -

  13. It dont matter cato is new escuela vieja always prevails.....just a matter of time before the house is cleaned up ...especially now with a election right around the corner.....limpia llo bien

    1. Well, el Bronco Rodriguez needs a few good men, he may give el Gato a new chance to be straight law, and maybe even governor, after all he has been accused of being a pony instead of bronco and epn's boy who has now forgotten the crimes of former governor Rodrigo Medina...


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