Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mexico Captures "La Barbie" Drug Trafficker

Via Yahoo! News (AP) -

Mexico captured major drug trafficker Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez on Monday in a new victory for President Felipe Calderon's high-stakes war on murderous cartels that threatens the country's image among investors and tourists.

Federal police caught Valdez, a leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel based in central Mexico, in a residential area near Mexico City, the government said.

Valdez, a 37-year-old Mexican-American born in Texas, put up little resistance, a police spokesman said.

"Valdez has connections with organized crime groups operating in Central and South America to smuggle drugs to the United States, where he is also wanted," national security spokesman Alejandro Poire told a news conference.

Nicknamed "La Barbie" for his fair complexion, Valdez is believed to have been behind a surge in bloodshed in central Mexico as he fought for leadership of his cartel. U.S. authorities put a $2 million bounty on his head but Poire did not say if Valdez would be sent to the United States.



Gary Hale, the recently retired chief of intelligence for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Houston Division, said Valdez could be among the top five traffickers in Mexico.

"It is a big deal to capture a cartel head who happens to be a U.S. citizen," said Hale, who is owner of Grupo Savant, a law-enforcement and intelligence consulting firm.

According to STRATFOR...

Valdez Villarreal has been locked in heated battle with his former colleague, Hector “El H” Beltran Leyva, for control over the territory once occupied by the Beltran Leyva Organization under now-deceased leader Arturo Beltran Leyva. Hector has since gone on to form Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS) and has been waging war against the former BLO elements loyal to Valdez Villarreal.

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