Southlake, TX

FBI Most Wanted Fugitive "El Gato" Arrested in 2013 Southlake Murder for Hire Case

A.W. Naves
Window shows the shots fired through Range Rover window in murder for hire hitPhoto byFBI

Juan Jesus Guerrero-Chapa and his wife were shopping in downtown Southlake, Texas on May 22, 2013, when violence erupted. Guerrero-Chapa, a Mexican defense attorney, was sitting in the passenger seat of their Range Rover. His wife had finished placing her shopping in the back of their vehicle and was approaching the driver’s side to leave the busy upscale shopping center.

Two men, Mexican assassins known only as “Clorox” and “Captain”, pulled up behind the vehicle, blocking it in. One of them exited and approached the side of the vehicle, shooting Guerrero-Chapa multiple times through the passenger side window. Afterward, the masked man returned to the vehicle and they both fled the scene.

Guerrero-Chapa was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local emergency room. He had been a private attorney hired to represent Osiel Cardenas. Cardenas is the former head of the notorious Gulf Cartel in Mexico who had been acting as an informant for the U.S. government.

An investigation led by the FBI Dallas Field Office uncovered information that the victim had been targeted by a group that had been stalking him since March 2011. Members of this group were seeking to kill the victim as part of a murder-for-hire plot instigated by Jose “El Gato” Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez, who appears to have had a long-term personal grudge against the victim.

Villarreal-Hernandez’s brother Ramon, reported to be a former financial head of the Beltran Leyva cartel, was arrested on a charge of murder-for-hire in relation to the execution of Guerrero-Chapa by Mexican authorities in 2018. He was extradited to the U.S. to face charges in 2020. He pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors who agreed to reduce his charges and sentence him to 10 years in prison.

In 2016, three additional men were also convicted on charges related to the murder. These men had been actively tracking Guerrero-Chap and his family for months using various tech, including remote-controlled cameras and GPS devices to watch the family’s vehicles and home.

A federal arrest warrant was issued for Villareal-Hernandez in 2018 for interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. He was also placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. A $1 million reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.

On January 7, 2023, Villarreal-Hernandez was located and arrested by Mexican authorities.
File photo of "El Gato"Photo byFBI
"Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez is charged with orchestrating a brutal murder that took place in broad daylight at a busy shopping center. The shooter and his accomplices showed no regard for the victim, his wife, or the innocent bystanders who witnessed the murder. The FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives Program’ allows us to bring this case to the eyes and ears of citizens around the world. We will not rest until Villarreal-Hernandez is apprehended and made to answer for these charges in court.” – FBI Special Agent in Charge DeSarno

Special Agent Gary Koenig with the FBI Dallas Field Office had been investigating Villarreal-Hernandez since the murder occurred in 2013. He stated that “the fact that Villarreal-Hernandez was willing to send people to the United States to track someone within the United States and then execute that person in a neighborhood in Texas—we need to set the example that this will not be tolerated.”

In addition to the murder-for-hire plot, Villarreal-Hernandez played a key role in drug trafficking from Mexico to the United States and is linked to nearly a dozen murders in Mexico, making his capture important for both countries. Koenig noted that he is “ruthless” and bringing him to justice will continue to be a top priority for authorities in Mexico and the U

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