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"La Barbie" - a Mexican-American Who Made the Big Time
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September 02, 2010, 07:43 PM
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You may have read that Mexico recently arrested Edgar Valdez, a drug kingpin better known as "La Barbie".

Guess what? "La Barbie" was not Mexican, but Mexican-American. As the Telegraph reports,

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, 37, who was born in the United States and grew up in a middle class home in Texas, got his improbable nickname because his blue eyes and fair complexion were said to make him resemble a Ken doll.

Nick Allen, the Telegraph reporter who wrote this article, probably makes a lot more money than I do, but he apparently doesn`t understand the Spanish surname system

(see my article on the topic) and mistakenly calls La Barbie Villarreal rather than Valdez :

Villarreal grinned as he was paraded for the Mexican media in handcuffs wearing a green polo shirt emblazoned with the word "London".

How had Valdez gotten to that point?

He [Valdez] had been an outstanding American football player in high school before allegedly starting to sell marijuana and developing a taste for luxury cars, nightclubs and Versace clothes. According to authorities he then moved to Mexico where he quickly became a key player in the country`s drug war, unleashing a wave of brutal murders near Mexico City.

He [Valdez] grew close to the country`s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, but later split with him to join the powerful Beltran Leyva cartel, which is accused of bringing Colombian cocaine into Acapulco and then smuggling it to the US. The US State Department said Villarreal headed a gang of assassins for the cartel and was "the person most responsible for pushing the battle into central and southern Mexico". Mexican Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said he was responsible for "dozens" of deaths.

Mexican Drug Kingpin La Barbie Arrested (Nick Allen, The Telegraph, August 31st, 2010)

It would be nice to think that the arrest of La Barbie would weaken the power of organized crime in Mexico, but in the past such arrests have not. After all, there are various cartels, plenty of money, and plenty of up and coming narco chiefs. Plus, the ones who get sent to the hoosegow in Mexico can still run their cartels from behind bars. They`re probably safer there.

La Barbie was a U.S. citizen, a Mexican-American born in Laredo, a former high school football star, who was still able to move up the ladder in the cutthroat world of the Mexican narco cartels .