FBI Dallas
Public Affairs Officers Melinda Urbina and Katie Chaumont
(972) 559-5629 / (972) 559-5699
January 9, 2023

FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez Captured in Mexico

FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez, also known as "El Gato," was arrested Saturday, January 7, 2023, by Mexican authorities. In 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas unsealed an indictment charging Villarreal-Hernandez with interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. He is allegedly responsible for stalking and orchestrating the murder-for-hire of a 43-year-old male victim on May 22, 2013, in Southlake, Texas.

The investigation, led by the FBI’s Dallas Field Office, revealed the victim was stalked by a group of individuals beginning in March 2011. The investigation further determined this same group allegedly committed the murder-for-hire on May 22, 2013, at the direction of Villarreal-Hernandez who allegedly holds an active leadership position in the Beltran Leyva drug-trafficking organization. Investigators believe that Villarreal-Hernandez had a personal grudge against the victim. He was named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List in October 2020 with the goal that increased publicity would lead to his capture.

Villarreal-Hernandez was arrested on January 7, 2023, in Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico by SEMAR (Secretaría de Marina) and agents from the Agencia de Investigación Criminal (Criminal Investigative Agency) of the Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) with support from the Coordinación Nacional Antisecuestro (CONASE). He is being held in Mexico pending extradition to the United States.

FBI Dallas Acting Special Agent in Charge (SAC) James Dwyer noted, "His arrest is the next step in achieving justice for the victim’s family as well as the citizens of Southlake who were shocked by the brutal murder that occurred in their city."

Acting SAC Dwyer would like to thank the Mexican government, the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy, Fiscalía General de la República (FGR), Coordinación Nacional Antisecuestro (CONASE) for their coordination in the arrest of Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez. Acting SAC Dwyer would also like to thank Southlake Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Mexico City, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, as well as the public for their assistance in this investigation.

Villarreal-Hernandez was the 524th person to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, which was established in 1950. Additional information concerning Villarreal-Hernandez and the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives can be found by visiting the FBI’s website at fbi.gov/topten.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.