Northeast Tarrant

Documents: Men charged with killing Southlake cartel lawyer linked to other homicides

Police in 2013 investigate the scene at the Southlake Town Square where lawyer Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was killed.
Police in 2013 investigate the scene at the Southlake Town Square where lawyer Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was killed.

The three men accused of stalking and conspiring to kill a Southlake drug cartel lawyer in 2013 have been linked to nine people who were slain or went missing over the years, according to U.S. District Court documents filed last week.

Two of the men — Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, 59, and his son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, 32 — showed a pattern of tracking eventual slaying victims, similar to the way prosecutors say they tracked lawyer Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa.

A third suspect in Guerrero’s killing, Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, was once fired from his job at Southwestern Bell after tapping the phones of his ex-wife and her boyfriend and threatening to kill them, according to the documents filed last week.

Guerrero, reportedly the lawyer for the onetime leader of the Gulf cartel, was fatally shot May 22, 2013, near the fountain and gazebo at Southlake Town Square, an upscale outdoor shopping center.

The Ledezmas and Cepeda-Cortes go to trial in the killing April 25 in Fort Worth. They have been jailed since their arrests in September 2014.

Before Guerrero’s death, the Ledezmas and Cepeda-Cortes had rented a Grapevine apartment, set up a surveillance camera in Guerrero’s Southlake neighborhood and placed a GPS monitor on his car, according to a federal criminal complaint.

The men traveled from Mexico to Southlake between March 1, 2011, and May 22, 2013, with the intent of killing Guerrero, according to case documents.

Cepeda-Cortes used email, photographs and other surveillance tools to locate Guerrero, the criminal complaint said.

The suspects also bought and rented numerous vehicles so they could change cars frequently and avoid detection, the paperwork said. They placed tracking devices on their own vehicles as well as multiple vehicles owned by Guerrero and his relatives, including the Range Rover in which he was killed.

Ledezma-Cepeda and Ledezma-Campano were arrested in September 2014 when they crossed the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission, near McAllen. Cepeda-Cortes was arrested at his home in Edinburg, where he was living legally with a green card.

Other killings before and after Southlake death

In the documents, prosecutors last week linked the Ledezmas and Cepeda-Cortes to killings before and after Guerrero’s death, even after they had been jailed.

Most recently, Moises Tijerina De La Garza was slain in Monterrey, Mexico, on Feb. 23, according to the court documents.

“Mr. De La Garza’s contact information had previously been in emails of Ledezma-Cepeda,” the court documents said.

De La Garza was Guerrero’s brother-in-law, NBC 5 reported.

Here are the other homicide and missing person cases linked to the suspects by prosecutors:

▪ The Ledezmas placed a tracking device on the vehicle of Luis Cortes Ochoa, who was ultimately slain.

▪ Ledezma-Cepeda on Dec. 2, 2011, had an email with the name of Dionicio Cantu-Rendon in it. Cantu-Rendon was reported missing on Feb. 3, 2012.

▪ Ledezma-Cepeda on May 17, 2012, had an email with the name of Eliseo Martinez Elizondo. The Ledezmas and Cepeda-Cortes also tracked Elizondo with the same GPS device used to stalk Guerrero. Elizondo was slain April 26, 2013.

▪ Ledezma-Cepeda on Nov. 30, 2011, had an email with the names of Felipe Cantu Lozano and Juan Cantu Cuellar. They were found slain Sept. 30, 2013.

▪ Ledezma-Cepeda on Sept. 29, 2011 had the name of Hector Javier Alvarez Reyna on his email. Reyna was found slain Oct. 22, 2013.

▪ The Ledezmas tracked Artemio Gonzalez-Wong, who was slain in October 2014.

▪ At the time of their arrest in September 2014, the Ledezmas were searching for Arturo Anacleto and Armando Guerrero-Chapa. The documents do not indicate what happened with Anacleto and Guerrero-Chapa.

▪ The Ledezmas in August 2014 tracked Caballero Diaz. Diaz was later kidnapped and is presumed dead.

The Ledezmas also picked up Casimiro Bautista near the U.S.-Mexico border “months after the murder” of Guerrero, prosecutors alleged. At the time, Bautista was on supervised release for a pending federal charge. The documents do not say what happened with Bautista.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas declined to comment on the new documents because the case is pending.

Prosecutors said in November that they will not seek the death penalty against the three suspects, according to court documents.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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