FBI fugitive wanted for role in Texas murder-for-hire plot arrested in Mexico

Mexican cartel leader ‘El Gato’ connected to Southlake slaying arrested

José Rodolfo Villareal-Hernandez, a Mexican cartel leader known as “El Gato” who is wanted in the U.S. for his alleged role in orchestrating a 2013 murder in Southlake, Texas, has been arrested in Mexico, authorities said. 

Villareal-Hernandez was detained in Mexico City. 

In a Tweet, Mexican authorities said that Villareal-Hernandez is “requested by authorities of the United States of America for his probable responsibility in the crimes of interstate stalking and criminal association to commit homicide.” Villareal-Hernandez was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list for charges of “interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire,” charges that were filed against him in 2018. 

The 2013 slaying that Villareal-Hernandez is alleged to have orchestrated targeted Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, who was allegedly a lawyer for the notoriously violent Gulf Cartel drug trafficking organization and an informant for the U.S. government. Investigators believe that Villareal-Hernandez held a personal grudge against Chapa. Chapa was sitting alongside his wife in their Range Rover when he was shot at least five times, marking Southlake’s first murder in more than 10 years, according to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.

Former United States Attorney Paul Coggins told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth that Villareal-Hernandez’s arrest sends a strong signal of cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico.

“What that’s telling the Cartel members… is it’s not just from the bottom up but from the top down as well,” Coggins said. 

Three other men have been previously indicted on interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire charges in Chapa’s killing. 

The United States has sixty days to begin the extradition process, Mexican authorities said.


  • Mexico
  • Texas
  • FBI
  • Cartel
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