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| Crime |

Manhunter for "El Gato" Cartel Boss Sentenced in Southlake Murder

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Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. U.S. District Judge Terry Means sentenced Ledezma-Cepeda on Tuesday afternoon for interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder.

Ledezma-Cepeda is the third person sentenced for his role in the 2013 Southlake murder of Guerrero Chapa, a lawyer for the Gulf cartel and informant for U.S. law enforcement. Last week, Means sentenced Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, Ledezma-Cepeda's cousin to two life sentences plus 240 years last week for his role in setting up the murder.

Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, got just 20 years this August for stalking leading to death because he agreed to testify against his father at trial.

Chapa was shot in his car in the parking lot of a Southlake shopping center on May 22, 2013. The shooter and his getaway driver have not been caught, but the murder would not have happened without Ledezma-Cepeda and his family, U.S. Attorney John Parker said Tuesday.

Acting on the orders of Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez, a cartel boss known as El Gato, Ledezma-Cepeda, his son and cousin conducted an extensive search throughout the United States to find Chapa, who Hernandez believed had played a role in the death of his father. During his search, Ledezma-Cepeda eventually placed tracking devices on cars owned by Chapa and his relatives, including the Range Rover in which Chapa was murdered.

After Ledezma-Cepeda reported Chapa's location to Hernandez, Hernandez sent two assassins — whom Ledezma-Cepeda could only identify as "Clorox" and "Captain," according to Parker, to meet with Ledezma-Cepeda.

One of those men, Parker says, shot Chapa after Ledezma-Cepeda switched on the tracking device on the day of the murder. Chapa's wife was in the car when her husband was shot, but was unharmed.

Clyde Shelley, the Drug Enforcement Agency Dallas Field Division’s Special Agent in Charge, said Ledezma-Cepeda's stiff sentence was essential to keeping cartel activity of North Texas.

“We will not tolerate cartel violence in our community, and we will fight until justice is served for the victims of such heinous crimes,” he said.

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