An American citizen who was born in the United States was extradited from Mexico and sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison on drug and money laundering charges by a federal judge in Atlanta. Edgar Valdez Villarreal was known as “La Barbie” due to his light complexion and light eyes. He was also fined a staggering $192 million. Prosecutors remarked that $192 million was a conservative estimate of the value of the cocaine that was transported to the United States by Villarreal. He would then ship payment for the cocaine back to Mexico. Villarreal had pled guilty early in 2016 to conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute the drug and conspiracy to launder money. Each charge carried a minimum 10 year prison sentence. Presently 44-years-old, the man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
The former linebacker for his high school football team in Laredo, Texas, viciously ascended the ranks to get the top of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug organizations. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, he started out by trafficking large shipments of marijuana between New Orleans and Memphis. He then developed a network through which he regularly delivered 150 to 180 kilos of cocaine to different cities on tractor-trailers.
“La Barbie’s” organization later began using speedboats to carry cocaine out of Colombia and other countries in South America into Mexico where it would later be transported to the United States. CNN reports that he worked his way up the organization as a hitman during a turf war for smuggling routes in and around Laredo. Upon his arrest, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 100 kilos of cocaine and $4 million.
The man had been in custody in the United States since 2016, but he didn’t enter a plea until the middle of 2018. His family members, including his sister who is a Texas state prosecutor, pled with the presiding judge for a lesser sentence
“La Barbie’s” lawyer maintained that his client deserved credit for telling authorities 10 years ago that Mexican drug organizations had learned the identities of undercover law enforcement agents in the area. He argued that the information probably saved the lives of the agents. In response, the judge argued that even after “La Barbie” disclosed that information, he continued to deliver large shipments of cocaine to the United States. He remarked, “I’ve never seen a case like this.”