Tough prison term for Mexican drug cartel leader

Tough prison term for Mexican drug cartel leader

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known to many as "La Barbie", received a 49-year sentence for crimes committed while serving as a ranking member of a Mexican drug cartel.

A member of the notorious Beltran-Layva cocaine cartel was sentenced Monday on charges of importing huge shipments of drugs to the USA and laundering the money back to Mexico. He said he didn't get a real sense of remorse from Valdez for flooding American communities with drugs.

Valdez was arrested in August 2010 in Mexico and later extradited to the USA where federal prosecutors wanted him on multiple offenses. "The highest levels of Mexican drug cartel should know that, like La Barbie, they will be held accountable for their crimes", said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak. It was given to him at his Texas high school for having blond hair and green eyes.

Valdez, 44, was accused of bringing trucks full of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern United States and shipping millions of dollars in cash back to Mexico.

At one point, Valdez-Villareal was El Chapo's top lieutenant, prosecutors said. He and the cartel distributed 1,500 kilograms of cocaine in Atlanta within six months in 2005 according to the Department of Justice.

He helped coordinate drug shipments from Colombia to Mexico and earned a spot as the cartel's top enforcer while arranging wars between its rivals, according to prosecutors. That information also revealed that he then moved on to trafficking cocaine in New Orleans and Memphis and connected with the Arturo Beltran-Leyva cartel.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used wiretaps, witness testimonies, seizures of cocaine and $4 million of drug proceeds to build a case against Valdez-Villareal.

"He will now go to federal prison for almost the rest of life".

He answered, "Yes, your honor", to a judge's questions before pleading guilty to the three charges, which commanded a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. It's not clear why it took more than two years to sentence him.

In 2010, he was arrested by Mexican authorities.

From humble beginnings, Valdez ultimately became 'one of the most wanted criminals in Mexico'.

Valdez was arrested less than year later by elite US-trained Mexican federal police. Shortly afterward, Mexico extradited high-profile traffickers, including Valdez-Villareal, to the United States.

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