Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mexico nabs U.S.-born drug lord 'La Barbie'

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.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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