Edgar Valdez-Villareal, higher referred to as “La Barbie,” a pacesetter within the Beltran-Leyva Cartel, pleaded responsible in January 2016 to conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder cash.
A 49-year federal jail time period possible means the 44-year-old Valdez-Villareal will spend the remainder of his life incarcerated. If he is alive on the finish of his sentence, he’ll serve 10 years of probation, the Justice Division stated.
“Valdez-Villareal imported tons of cocaine into the U.S. whereas ruthlessly working his means up the ranks of one among Mexico’s strongest cartels, leaving in his wake numerous lives destroyed by medication and violence,” US Lawyer Byung Pak stated in an announcement. “The very best ranges of Mexican drug cartel ought to know that, like La Barbie, they are going to be held accountable for his or her crimes.”
Over the course of twenty years, the Laredo, Texas, native and onetime highschool soccer participant trafficked marijuana earlier than creating a community — starting in New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee — by which he was recurrently delivery between 150 and 180 kilograms of cocaine into a number of cities, Pak stated.
Lifetime of crime
At one level, Valdez-Villareal was El Chapo’s prime lieutenant, prosecutors stated. Mexican Marines killed Beltran Leyva in a 2009 shootout.
In 2004, the Justice Division says, he started delivery cocaine from Mexico into Atlanta and Memphis on the again of tractor trailers. Twice every week, he’d run 300 kilograms (661 kilos) to his clients and ferry the cash again throughout the Mexican border. In six months of 2005, he shipped 1,500 kilograms (3,307 kilos) into Atlanta alone with out ever stepping foot within the metropolis, prosecutors stated.
“On the identical time, Valdez-Villareal grew to become a top-level enforcer for the cartel and coordinated a conflict in opposition to his rivals, the Gulf Cartel and Zetas in Mexico,” the Justice Division information launch stated.
Valdez-Villareal made his title within the drug underworld as a hitman, authorities say. Within the mid-2000s, the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel fought a protracted and bloody turf conflict for Nuevo Laredo smuggling routes, and Valdez was a key soldier within the battles.
Sentence a very long time coming
Utilizing wiretaps and witness testimony, the Drug Enforcement Administration constructed a case in opposition to Valdez-Villareal ensuing within the seizure of 100 kilograms of cocaine and $four million.
He answered, “Sure, your honor,” to a choose’s questions earlier than pleading responsible to the three fees, which commanded a minimal sentence of 10 years in jail.
He was slated to be sentenced in March 2016, based on officers on the time. It isn’t clear why it took greater than two years to condemn him.
Mexican authorities touted Valdez-Villareal’s 2010 arrest as successful in its drug conflict. On the time, he was on the record of most-wanted drug traffickers in each Mexico and the US. The US supplied a $2 million reward for his seize.
Kingpins shipped north
After his arrest, the Mexican legal professional normal’s workplace printed a video of his confession, through which he stated he managed profitable drug routes from Panama to the US.
CNN’s Catheine Shoichet, Gustavo Valdes and Mariano Castillo contributed to this report.