A few months ago, we reported on the record-setting extradition of drug traffickers from Mexico to the United States. One of those individual extradited was Edgar Valdez Villareal a.k.a. “La Barbie.” Yesterday, in an Atlanta courtroom, La Barbie pleaded guilty to charges of cocaine importation, cocaine distribution and money laundering, according to CNN.
La Barbie’s case is different than most of the Mexican drug lords that get knocked. He was born in America, Laredo, TX, to be exact. His nickname comes from his days playing high school football in Texas. his coach called him “Barbie” because of his light complexion and blue eyes. However, Laredo is a major hub for drug traffickers and La Barbie dove in to that life. In the mid-2000’s, the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel were warring over the Nuevo Laredo smuggling routes. La Barbie soldiered on the side of the Sinaloas. At one point, he was a top-lieutenant for the notorious Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but later joined the breakaway Beltran Leyva cartel, lead by the late Arturo Beltran Leyva.
La Barbie stands accused of smuggling more than 100 kilos every week for the majority of 2005. According to reports, he moved 1,500 kilos to Atlanta alone in a six month period. “We’re talking about tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. CNN reports:
Valdez never stepped foot in Atlanta, Horn said, but he managed a network of operatives in the city who did his bidding as “truckload after truckload of Mr. Valdez’s cocaine crossed the border and traveled to Atlanta for repackaging and redistribution across the Eastern United States.”
La Barbie was arrested in 2010, when he was one of Mexico’s most wanted and the United States was offering $2 million for information on his whereabouts. He confessed to managing profitable drug routes from Panama to the US. During his five years in Mexican prison, La Barbie “shopped around intelligence on other traffickers and corrupt Mexican officials in exchange for a reduced sentence.”
La Barbie is scheduled to be sentenced in March. he faces a minimum of ten years in prison and a maximum of life. He has left his mark on the game, though. His love of Polo jerseys created a fashion trend called “Narco Polo.” There is also Hollywood movie in the works about his life called, American Drug Lord.