Two Guilty in Southlake Drug Cartel Murder

A federal jury in Fort Worth on Friday found two men guilty in the 2013 murder of a drug cartel lawyer in Southlake.

After deliberating over two days, the jury found Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda, 59, and his cousin Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes, 60, of stalking and conspiring to murder Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa on the Southlake town square in May 2013.

Prosecutors said the two stalked Guerrero for months using high-tech surveillance tools including remote cameras and GPS tracking devices on his car.

The actual gunmen and the cartel leader who ordered the hit have never been arrested.

They all worked for the Beltran-Leyva carte, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys claimed Guerrero became the “de facto” head of Mexico’s violent Gulf Cartel after its former leader Osiel Cardenas was arrested.

Ledezma Cepeda’s attorneys had argued he was ordered to track down Guerrero and if he had not, the cartel would have killed him or his family.

Cepeda Cortes’s attorneys argued he never knew Guerrero would be killed and thought he was helping his cousin, a private detective, hunt down Guerrero because he had not repaid a loan.

Ledezma Cepeda’s son, who also was charged in the case, pleaded guilty and testified against the other two family members.

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