Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka the barbie, is not in the custody of the US prison system. This has been corroborated by EL PAIS according to records from the United States Federal Prison Agency, where the well-known capo was serving a sentence until 2056. The drug trafficker of Mexican and American nationality had been sentenced in 2018 to more than 49 years in prison for four drug trafficking offenses and one charge for money laundering.
“Not in custody of the prison agency,” reads the inmate search engine of the US prison system. La Barbie was serving her sentence at the Coleman II maximum security prison, located in central Florida, about 70 kilometers from the city of Orlando, according to court documents. The lawyers for the capo, extradited to the United States in September 2015, had filed a request to revoke his sentence, a request that was dismissed by a Georgia State judge in 2020. There is no other public document in the summary of the trial against Valdez Villarreal about an alleged release, but the last seven legal writings on the case have been classified.
This newspaper has contacted spokespersons for the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Relations, who have said that they were not aware of the legal situation of La Barbie. The US Embassy in Mexico has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The first charges filed against Valdez Villarreal in the United States date back to 2001, when he was accused of two crimes related to the distribution of cocaine. In 2005 he was charged with money laundering and a year later he was charged with two additional charges of cocaine trafficking. It wasn’t until almost a decade later that he would sit in the dock. In addition to the sentence, the judge imposed a fine of 192 million dollars for money laundering.
Valdez Villareal, born in Laredo (Texas) in 1973, was one of the highest-ranking members of the Beltran Leyva brothers’ cartel, former allies and later enemies of the Sinaloa Cartel, of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman. Washington describes him as Arturo Beltran Leyva’s most trusted lieutenant and hit man and assures that he was in charge of collecting the income of the plaza bosses who belonged to that criminal organization, as well as intimidating and assassinating rival drug traffickers. The DEA points out that he was behind a bloody war for territory between criminal gangs in the first decade of the 2000s. He was arrested in August 2010 by the Mexican authorities, in one of the most celebrated captures by the government of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012).
The unknown about the whereabouts of La Barbie opens up a range of possibilities around where it is. One of them is that she has reached an agreement as a collaborating witness with the US authorities and that she has been assigned a new identity to protect her safety. Another option is that a potential agreement with the US authorities has allowed him to have a reduced sentence or other benefits in exchange for cooperating. There are court records that the kingpin has collaborated with the DEA and other government agencies to purge a lesser sentence. On the other hand, having a US passport, Valdez Villarreal cannot be deported to Mexico. While waiting to know the official version of where the boss is, the hypotheses fall into the realm of speculation.
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