HomeNewsBriefEnigmatic Drug Lord ‘La Barbie’ Made Deal With US: Report
BRIEF

Enigmatic Drug Lord 'La Barbie' Made Deal With US: Report

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 9 AUG 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

An American drug lord who operated in Mexico reportedly made a deal with US authorities to secure a shorter sentence, an anticipated outcome that is sure to add to the mounting evidence that extradited capos are providing on Mexico's underworld.

Edgar Valdez Villareal, a former leader of Mexico's Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO), and four of his accomplices agreed to supply US authorities with information on his and rival drug cartels in exchange for a reduced prison sentence, reported El Universal.

Known as "La Barbie," a nickname his high school football coach in Texas reportedly gave him for his blond hair and fair skin, Valdez Villareal was arrested by Mexican authorities in August 2010. He was extradited to the United States in September 2015 after spending the intervening years in maximum security prison. La Barbie initially pleaded innocent to US drug trafficking charges, but switched his plea to guilty in January 2016.

US prosecutors allege La Barbie was responsible for sending multiple tons of cocaine into the eastern United States while working for the BLO. 

InSight Crime Analysis

It has long been suspected that La Barbie would be willing to cut a deal with US authorities. "He might sing like a canary," one expert on Mexican drug cartels told the Los Angeles Times at the time of his arrest. "They flipped him," Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope told Vice News after La Barbie pleaded guilty in January. 

Indeed, according to El Universal, La Barbie's lawyer was actually pushing to have him extradited to the United States, something which many drug lords fight tooth and nail to avoid. And shortly after his arrest, rumors began swirling that La Barbie had negotiated his surrender with Mexican and potentially even US authorities. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Given La Barbie's status in the Mexican underworld, he may in fact have information valuable to US authorities. Several other heads of Mexican drug cartels, from the BLO to the Gulf Cartel, have also been extradited and are possibly providing intelligence as well. A number of captured drug lords, however, have yet to be sent to the United States, most notably the Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

A similar dynamic is playing out in other parts of Latin America. Colombia has long used extradition as a judicial weapon against drug traffickers, while countries such as Guatemala and Honduras have also taken to sending drug capos to face justice in the United States. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 27 SEP 2012

The Mexican government has promised to send more troops to Coahuila, where some 130 inmates recently escaped from prison,…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 6 OCT 2014

Police in Guerrero state, Mexico, collaborated with a drug cartel to kill a group of student protesters, according to the…

MEXICO / 25 MAY 2011

Mexico's authorities said that bodies recently found in mass graves in Durango are victims of divisions within the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.