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Two Mexican Men Found Guilty Of Stalking US Cartel Lawyer Before He Was Killed

Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Lott

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Two Mexican citizens were found guilty Friday of murdering a Texas-based lawyer who represented the incarcerated boss of the Mexican Gulf Cartel.

Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes, 60, along with his cousin Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda, 59, were found guilty of “interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire,” according to Dallas Morning News. The murdered man is Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, who was gunned down in May 2013 in front of a shopping center in the ritzy Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, Texas.

Guerrero represented Osiel Cardenas, who was the head of the Gulf Cartel. Guerrero helped his client cut a deal that involved handing over $50 million of cartel money to the U.S. Guerrero, himself, then became a federal informant because of his extensive knowledge of cartel activities.

During the trial, the defense accused the government of colluding with Guerrero, who they said became the head of the Gulf Cartel once Cardenas was incarcerated. It is believed that Guerrero was promised safety from cartel violence as long as he continued to inform federal authorities about major cartel activities.

After living in hiding for over two years, the cartel counselor was stalked and murdered. The two convicted cartel stalkers put a GPS tracker on the attorney’s Range Rover to hunt him down. Guerrero lived in a luxurious $1.2 million home while in hiding.

U.S. federal prosecutors lucked out when one of the defendants decided to testify against his fellow stalkers. Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Campano, 32, the son of the senior Ledezma Cepeda, chose to testify against his father and second-cousin in hopes of getting a lesser sentence.

The murder of Guerrero was many years in the making  — it is reported he ordered the killing of a Mexican cop looking to be bribed to stay quiet about Cardenas’ hideout in 2000. The cop’s son, named Rodolfo “El Gato” Villarreal Hernandez, became a senior operative in the Beltran Leyva Cartel after his father’s death and allegedly ordered the revenge killing of Guerrero.

When El Gato was notified that his blood feud had been settled, he reportedly threw a huge party with lots of beer to celebrate.

The three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in September, according to Dallas Morning News. Cepeda Cortes and Ledezma Cepeda could spend life behind bars.

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