Whereabouts of notorious drug lord nicknamed “La Barbie” unknown as Mexico presses U.S. for answers

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday urged the United States to reveal the whereabouts of a notorious drug trafficker whose name has disappeared from US prison records.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, at Mexican-American nicknamed “The Barbiefor his fair complexion, was captured by Mexico in 2010 and extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to 49 years in prison.

Media recently revealed that the former Beltran-Leyva cartel henchman no longer appears in a search of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ online inmate registry.

Edgar Valdez Villareal aka 'The Barbie' (
Edgar Valdez Villareal aka ‘La Barbie’ (C) of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, is presented to the press at the Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City, August 31, 2010.

ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images


“The United States government must address the issue as soon as possible,” Lopez Obrador told reporters, adding that Mexico was waiting for a response.

“We’ll keep asking them,” he added, calling the case “strange” since the trafficker still had many years to serve unless he reached a deal with US authorities.

The Bureau of Prisons told AFP that Texas-born Valdez “is not currently in the custody” of the US federal agency, which could be for several reasons.

“Detainees who were previously in BOP custody and have not served their sentence may be out of BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment, or other reasons” , did he declare.

“We do not provide specific information about the status of detainees who are not in BOP custody for safety, security or confidentiality reasons,” he added.

Prosecutors say Valdez began his drug-dealing career in Laredo, Texas, and quickly developed cocaine clients in New Orleans and Memphis. He eventually entered into a relationship with Arturo Beltran-Leyva, who was then associated with the Sinaloa Cartel and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in Mexico, according to prosecutors.

Valdez, prosecutors said, then began coordinating cocaine shipments to Mexico using speedboats and airplanes, while paying bribes to local law enforcement officials. The cocaine would then have been transported across the border to the United States. Prosecutors said Valdez became a high-level enforcer for the cartel and coordinated a war against rivals the Gulf Cartel and Zetas in Mexico.

Ultimately, DEA agents were able to build the case against Valdez using wiretaps, seizures of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine and $4 million in drug proceeds and testimony, prosecutors said. .

When Valdez was sentenced in 2018, the Justice Department said he “ruthlessly rose through the ranks of one of Mexico’s most powerful cartels, leaving countless lives shattered by drugs and violence in his wake. “.

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