On Monday, two men who murdered Juan Jesús Guerrero Chapa while he was out shopping for shoes with his wife in 2013 will stand trial on charges relating to his death near a trendy shopping mall near Dallas-Fort Worth international airport.
As the Guardian reports, Chapa was with his wife in a Range Rover when a white Toyota Sequoia pulled up behind them. A man exited the vehicle and shot through the passenger window with a 9mm pistol. The incident took less than six seconds; it was an assassination.
The trial is meant to bring Mexican drug cartels and their activities on American soil to the fore.
The former leader of the Gulf Cartel will be called as a defense witness. Osiel Cardenas Guillén was sentenced in 2010 to 25 years in prison. He was found guilty of money laundering, drug dealing, and murder threats, forfeiting over $50 million in drug money. He was captured by Mexican law enforcement authorities and extradited in 2007 back to America. He is serving his sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado. His plea deal with U.S. prosecutors escalated a violent war between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, a militant splinter group.
Mexico's Human Rights Commission Defends Los Zetas Cartel: 'They Were Tortured' https://t.co/IUMMoPrIZN pic.twitter.com/Bam4AbJ467
— Barracuda Brigade (@BarracudaMama) April 25, 2016
Guillén's deal surged Guerrero Chapa through the Gulf cartel ranks. According to court documents, Chapa was Guillén's former lawyer but soon assumed a leadership position when his boss was arrested. He ran a massive criminal enterprise that included drug trafficking, kidnapping, bribery, extortion, torture, money laundering, and murder. A court document alleges that this made Chapa plenty of enemies, all while he was living in the U.S. legally and playing informant to the U.S. government.
Photo, which appears to show marijuana, was on victim Juan Jesús Guerrero Chapa's cellphone at the time of his death pic.twitter.com/RpabP31Fzn
— alec (@Alec_Diaz) April 14, 2016
In 2014, Jesús Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, then 58, and his son, Jesús Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, then 30, were arrested at a checkpoint over the Rio Grande. Another suspect, José Luis Cepeda-Cortés, a legal U.S. resident, then 58, was apprehended at a nearby house. The charges against them suggest that they stalked Chapa before eventually ordering his death. Jesús Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, a police officer in Monterrey, Mexico, in a plea deal, is expected to testify against his father's cousin and father.
Guerrero Chapa had received a tip that his life was in danger. He had confided in his wife that they were being watched and that people were monitoring their phones and knew where they lived. Defense lawyers are contending the claim because an autopsy report showed that Chapa had cocaine in his system, meaning that he was still heavily involved with criminals and the drug trade.
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Chapa's assassination was a well-ironed plan. His enemies had been monitoring him for more than two years, staying in different houses, changing vehicles, and even planting a camera in his car.
Nathan P. Jones, the author of a book on Mexican drug cartels, said, "We've always known that there are operations in the United States...much more low profile fashion, that's why you don't see the level of spillover violence that you do in Mexico...if there are significant disputes you would expect low-profile hit men to track their targets for a prolonged period of time."
He continued, "[T]he one that would be unexpected for me is why kill this guy in public...if they are so professional, why did they do it in a place with surveillance cameras."
The plan was really to smuggle Chapa back into Mexico, where it would have been easy to kill him and evade any form of justice. A drug dealer, Luis Lauro Ramírez-Bautista, had given $38,000 to Ledezma-Cepeda to facilitate his kidnapping with assistance from Mexican government officials. Apparently, something went wrong for them to assassinate him in a public place.
Are you shocked that a Mexican drug lord was murdered in broad daylight in the U.S.?
[Image via Shutterstock/Pepsco Studio]