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Police Nab Infamous Texas Drug Lord 'La Barbie'

Police Nab Infamous Texas Drug Lord 'La Barbie'

Federal police on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, captured Valdez Villarreal, a Texas-born alleged drug kingpin, who faces trafficking charges in the U.S. and has been blamed for a vicious turf war that has included bodies hung from bridges and shootouts in centra

The Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

August 31, 2010

MEXICO – Mexican authorities captured a legendary Texan on Monday who is accused of a bloody climb to the top echelon of one of the hemisphere’s most powerful drug cartels.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie” for his looks, faces a slew of charges in Mexico, but also is wanted in the United States, where he has been indicted for smuggling thousands of pounds of cocaine into this country.

The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $2 million for his capture.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle late Monday, a Houston lawyer representing Valdez, 37, said he fears his client will be tortured or worse before he can be returned to the United States for trial.

“I do not think anyone is safe in the hands of the Mexican military” defense attorney Kent Schaffer said. “Something is going to happen.”

Most recently, Valdez was indicted in Atlanta on federal charges he imported and distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine from 2004 to 2006.

U.S. prosecutors contend the drugs were often smuggled north through Texas and then on to Atlanta, which is a hub for cartel activity in the Southeastern United States.

In turn, millions of dollars in proceeds were sent back to Mexico a similar way, according to court papers.

Valdez is said to have been a standout high-school football player in the Texas-Mexico border city of Laredo, where a coach nicknamed him Barbie for his hair and eye color.

It is unusual for an American to climb so high in the ranks of Mexican organized crime, but not unprecedented.

Texas-born Juan Garcia Abrego was captured in Mexico in the 1990s and sent to Houston, where he was convicted of drug-trafficking crimes as the head of the Gulf Cartel. He is now serving multiple life sentences.

A Mexican federal government source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Valdez was captured by federal police outside Mexico City and he was being held in the capital city at a secure location.

“A result of intelligence gathered by the modernized federal police force he was arrested in the State of Mexico,” the source said.

Gary Hale, the recently retired chief of intelligence for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston Division, said Valdez could be among the top five traffickers in Mexico.

“It is a big deal to capture a cartel head who happens to be a U.S. citizen,” said Hale, who is owner of Grupo Savant, a law-enforcement and intelligence consulting firm.

Hale said he doubts Valdez will be harmed because any allegations of rights abuses involving such a high-profile prisoner could jeopardize U.S. financial assistance.

According to the U.S. government, Valdez was part of the Sinaloa Cartel before one of its chief leaders established his own organization.

That leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed in December 2009 in a shootout with the Mexican military.

His death was believed to have left the throne of power to Valdez, but also left a target clearly on his back. He was in a war with Beltran Leyva’s brother, Hector, for control of the business.

While Valdez hasn’t been formally charged for carnage in Mexico, he’s widely been blamed for killings and rivals have sought to mock him by hanging and mutilating his soldiers, as well as leaving public messages with insults.

The attorney, Schaffer, said his client was on the run and knew time was running out.

“You die, get caught or spend your life looking over your shoulder,” he said.

“We thought there was a distinct possibility,” he said of Valdez’s capture, which he found out about through a Valdez family member. As a result, Schaffer had been hired to look at options in the event Valdez was captured.

He hopes he’ll be sent back to the United States.

As of Monday night, Schaffer said he was still trying to find his client.

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  • Academyrun_014_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I have never been very impressed with the law enforcement in Mexico but I have to congratulate them on this capture. If the lawyer is so afraid for his safety maybe he can cruise on over there and bunk with him. One less lawyer in the U.S. would be a win. Let Mexico keep them both so we don't have to pay for the trial and defense.

  • Police3_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    im really glad that they got him. people like that deserve death penalty right away . they are causing lots problems here in America . I hate drugs

  • Swat_teaser_fin_sm001_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Wat t1401hm said!!! hope hes ready

  • Images_max160_sq90_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    La Barbie's about to meet Ken, his new cell mate :)

  • Hard_rock_3-20-11_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Great job!!! I always wondered why they never made a jail bird Barbie!!
    Coming Soon.........This Barbie will come with shackles, a cell block with a fold down bed and a pop up toilet, and a jump suit that will really bring out his eye color!! Other action figures, like the guards and the other inmates, will be sold seperately. !

  • John_groh_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    " Houston lawyer representing Valdez,37, said he fears his cliant will be tortured or worse before he can be returned to the United States for trial." So what, thats Mexico, if that is what they do to dirtbags like that, I really don't care. Glad they got him.

  • Flags_and_stars_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Excellent grab!

  • Fake_sunset_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good catch

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Nice catch; keep it up !!!!!

  • 14600_10200352713679693_171098802_n_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    not a barbie in a barbie world..just saying ..another one bites the dust .good job officers!

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Lets see justice served.

  • Dove_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Glad to see that this man will soon be brought to justice. Just wish they didn't have to waste all that money trying him.

  • Me_last_wk_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good catch

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago

    Sure... But he wasn't afraid of the countless Murders committed in his name to push his Drug Empire...
    Just fry the scum bag. Too bad the captured him alive.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago

    Interesting....we were all discussing him as a unit last week, while viewing some DHS/DoJ intelligence files on him and his connections. Good to see he has come to justice...and I say let the Mexican Army keep him. Criminals fearing justice is a good thing....

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