La Barbie: from football star to feared drug lord
La Barbie, whose real name is Edgar Valdez Villarreal, was a Texas football star before he moved to Mexico City and joined the Sinaloa Cartel.
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Valdez had many enemies, but one of his bitterest feuds dated to his stint in Nuevo Laredo, where he battled the Gulf Cartel and its henchmen, Los Zetas, for smuggling routes, Pequeno said. His hatred of the No. 2 Zetas leader, Miguel Trevino Morales, alias "El L-40," was so severe it nearly caused a falling out with his own boss, Pequeno said.Skip to next paragraph
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Seizing control in Sinaloa Cartel
Eventually, Beltran-Leyva and his underlings broke from the Sinaloa Cartel, and when the drug lord died in a shootout in December with Mexican marines, his gang was ripped apart by violence, with "La Barbie" seizing control of a faction and becoming a major trafficker in his own right.
Narcotics agents hunting "La Barbie" got a lucky break in a raid on Aug. 9 in the elegant Bosques de las Lomas district of Mexico City, which turned up evidence leading them to the accused drug lord's mountain safe house in Salazar, Rosas said.
The State Department had offered a $2 million bounty for Valdez and Mexican authorities held out a similar reward of around $2.2 million.
Narcotics charges in three US states
Under Calderón, Mexico has extradited scores of wanted criminals to stand trial in the US, breaking with the nation's past refusal to do so. Prison escapes are frequent in Mexico.
Mexico's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, embarrassed Calderón's predecessor, Vicente Fox, in 2001 when he escaped from federal prison. Guzman remains on the loose, and rival cartels claim the government battles them but has given the Sinaloa Cartel free rein.
Other arrests in the hemisphere underscored cooperation between police and counter-drug agencies, including the DEA, in the move against "La Barbie."
In Colombia, the national police said they'd detained 11 people in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Buenaventura and Pereira. One of them, Julio Cesar Pina Soberanis, a Mexican, is believed to be Valdez's emissary to traffickers in that country. Another, Denis Alvarino Gomez, is accused of serving as a go-between with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a guerrilla group deeply involved in cocaine trafficking.