Top Cartel Boss Appeared to Discover Temporary Refuge in TX

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 9:51 PM

Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa moved into a million-dollar residence in Southlake in two thousand-eleventh, two years before he was fatally shot by three men who prosecutors declare had been stalking him for months.

A man who was slain at an upscale suburban Dallas shopping middle is identified in federal Ct documents as the acting boss of a notorious Mexican cartel, a claim that'd running counter to the long-held trust that drug kingpins rarely attempt to cover in the United States.

Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa moved into a million-dollar residence in Southlake in two thousand-eleventh, two years before he was fatally shot by three men who prosecutors declare had been stalking him for months.

According to a recent Ct filing submitted by the lawyers for Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda — one of three suspects slated to stand trial for Chapa'south killing — Chapa became the interim head of the Gulf Cartel — one of Mexico'south most violent drug-trafficking rings — following the arrest of predecessor Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, who was extradited to the U. S. in two thousand-seventh and later sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

As head of the Gulf Cartel, "Chapa ran a large criminal undertaking whose activities included murders, narcotics trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, bribery, money laundering and torture," the Ct filing says.

It appears Chapa in portion was seeking anonymity with his family in emotional to the Dallas metro region. Ct records said he'd been living in fear because "he'd been found by people who wanted to kill him."

Federal executive declare it'south different to discover high-ranking gang leaders love Chapa in Texas, and particularly N Texas, a region the cartels over the years have used as a jumping off point to spread their drug distribution network. The Dallas region, fed by several freeways and tiny airports, allows for direct routes into the Midwest and beyond.

Ledezma-Cepeda and the two other defendants are scheduled to stand trial later this mo on charges including conspiracy to commit murder for hire and interstate stalking.

One of Ledezma-Cepeda'south attorneys, Wes Ball, said Chapa headed the Gulf Cartel in a transitional or interim capacity. Federal authorities have said Chapa was Cardenas-Guillen'south lawyer and a principle figure in the cartel's operation.

Cartels frequently have lower-level members living in the U. S. to broaden drug-trafficking efforts, Russ Baer, a spokesman for the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement. These operatives are generally in the states for Ltd periods and then rotated back to Mexico to avert law enforcement scrutiny.

However, upper-level leaders usually don't live in the U. S. due to the increased likelihood of capture, Baer said.

Ball added that the trial for the three men charged in Chapa'south death could proposal a scarce see into cartel operations.

"Most of your cartel heads never go to trial, they nearly always plead guilty," Ball said. "So public trials where all the nitty gritty details are laid out is actually pretty rare."

Chapa'south death close Dallas in two thousand-thirteenth came the same mo as the conviction in Austin of the brother of two top leaders for a competing cartel.

Jose Trevino Morales and others used proceeds from U. S. drug sales to purchase American quarter horses and launder the money. Ct records indicate the operation was based out of suburban Dallas, and Trevino Morales was found to have invested $16 million of drug money in the buying, training and racing of horses across the Southwest United States.

Trevino Morales is the brother of two former leaders of the Zetas, an organization that's expanded beyond the drug trade to become the biggest criminal grouping in Mexico. One of the men was captured in two thousand-thirteenth by Mexican authorities and the other two years later.

In another case, Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez was arrested by federal agents in two thousand-fourteenth while shopping in the S TX city of Edinburg. The U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration has said Saenz-Tamez was a boss of the Gulf Cartel.

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