Born in Laredo, Texas, Edgar Valdez Villarreal nicknamed La Barbie (due to his light hair and good looks) used to sell small amounts of pot in high school. Some people strongly believe that he actually got his start stealing cars in the U.S. and selling them in Mexico.That’s a pretty easy entry point because that would put him in touch with people in Mexico. From there, he apparently began moving drugs through Nuevo Laredo and Laredo and eventually, in the early 2000s, ended up in Monterrey and the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, where he got in with the Beltran Leyva organization.
Valdez is alleged to have smuggled in thousands of kilos of cocaine into America, most of which ended up along the eastern part of the country. He is currently involved in a bitter feud with the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas for control of the drug smuggling routes, which are used to send millions of dollars worth of marijuana, cocaine and heroin into the U.S.
To talk about his reputation, there is a whole genre of songs in Mexico called “narco-corridos”, songs that celebrate drug kingpins:
« Lo conocen por el Tigre, por la Muñeca y Muñeco. Hombre de muchos apodos, también de mucho cerebro. Pero pa’ que no se enreden, Barbie dígame primero »
(In this “narco-corrido” they’re talking about all his nicknames. They’re saying that he’s The Tiger or The Doll. And then later on in the song, they start to brag about how intelligent he is and what a good businessman he is).
I should say there’s an extremely grizzly, horrific video that goes along with this jaunty song.
The great news is that “’La Barbie” has been arrested yesterday by Mexican police as one of the country’s most wanted drug traffickers. The Mexican government said that they picked him up in the Mexican State of Mexico. They’d been on his tail apparently for a while.
Most of the arrests in the area he controlled along Mexico’s Southern Pacific Coast had been of people in his organization over the last few months, and most of the killings, as well. It seems likely that the U. S. seeks the extradition so that he stands trial in the U.S., not in Mexico. There have been issues with high-level cartel figures in Mexican prisons sort of skirting justice, living happily in a well-furnished prison cell. So there will be pressure to get into the U.S. That’s what’s been happening with the cartel figures captured since President Felipe Calderon took office in Mexico.
Valdez “was a very violent kingpin, he was a fearsome criminal”. In order to understand the extent of Valdez Villarreal’s control of the drug empire in Mexico before his arrest you have to know that he was in contention with his former boss’s brother. His boss had been Arturo Beltran Leyva, who had at one point been a high-ranking figure in the Sinaloa Cartel and that had split off to form his own organization. Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed at the end of last year, and so Valdez Villarreal was in a fight to take over that organization.