A Mexican drug cartel leader who the FBI says ordered a 2013 killing in Southlake and has been on the run for years has been taken into custody in Mexico, Mexican federal authorities said.

Officials with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced the arrest over the weekend.

Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez also known as El Gato is charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to commit murder for hire and interstate stalking.

Villarreal-Hermandez who had been on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list is suspected of being connected to the slaying of Juan Jesus Guerrero-Chapa, the former personal attorney for the one-time head of the Gulf Cartel, in Southlake Town Square in 2013.

Guerrero-Chapa, was the personal attorney for Osiel Cardenas, the former head of Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel and also a U.S. government informant.

Six people have been arrested in the case, but the assassins remained on the run.

Authorities said the killing was a hit ordered by El Gato who supposedly believed Guerrero was responsible for his father’s murder.

Officials say between March 2011 and May 2013, three men traveled from Mexico to Southlake and elsewhere, tracking Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, the personal lawyer for the leader of the Gulf cartel and a government informant.

Records show the men were acting on orders from Villarreal-Hernandez, who wanted Chapa killed as revenge for his father’s murder. After the men located Chapa, Villarreal-Hernandez sent two assassins — identified only as “Clorox” and “Captain” — from Mexico to Southlake to kill him, authorities said.

Mexican drug cartel leader Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernadez accused of being involved in a 2013 Southlake murder has been taken into custody in Mexico.

Mexican drug cartel leader Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernadez accused of being involved in a 2013 Southlake murder has been taken into custody in Mexico.

Guerrero had gone out for ice cream with his wife at Southlake Town Square on May 22, 2013, when a Toyota Sequoia pulled up behind their Range Rover. A man got out of the truck, walked up to Guerrero as he sat in the passenger seat of his vehicle and repeatedly shot him.

He died near the fountain and gazebo.

His wife, Julia Tijerina de la Garza, testified in court nearly three years later that Guerrero had lived in fear for more than two years, hiding his family in a gated community and often staying at nearby hotels.

He’d gotten two phone calls, one in spring of 2011 and another in February 2013, informing him that “they had found him, they knew where he lived and they wanted to kill him,” Tijerina testified.

The three men who tracked Chapa, Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, of Mexico; his cousin Jesus “Chuy” Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda; and Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, have been sentenced in the case.

A drug dealer, Luis Lauro Ramirez Bautista, suspected of helping finance the search for Chapa was apprehended in June 2017 by Mexican federal officers, according to reporting by the Dallas Morning News. He died in custody, federal authorities said.

Ramon Villarreal, also accused of being linked to the 2013 Southlake killing, was arrested in 2018 without incident in Monterrey in northern Mexico, according to a news release from the Procuraduria General De La Republica (PGR), the Mexican federal law enforcement agency.

Villarreal-Hernandez has been a high-ranking member of the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO) Drug Cartel, according to a U.S. Department of Justice wanted poster. He oversees an organization responsible for importing cocaine and marijuana into the United States, as well as committing violent acts in Mexico and the U.S. to maintain his organization’s power and status, the Justice Department says.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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