Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Man or Myth? American Drug Lord 'La Barbie' Fascinates and Terrorizes

Monday, May 24, 2010 |

Edgar Valdez-Villareal at Forefront of Drug Wars, Killing Hundreds Along the Mexican Border.

By John Quinones




For some along the Texas-Mexico border, Edgar Valdez-Villareal is an American success story.

Valdez-Villareal is a wealthy businessman from Laredo, Texas, who has hit the big time, raking in millions of dollars. Now living the good life in Mexico, he drives fancy cars and has been nicknamed "La Barbie," thanks to his good looks.

Beautiful women want to be with him, and back in Texas, kids say they want to be like him.

"Guys like money," said one male high school student who had heard stories about Valdez-Villareal. "They get fame, they get girls, they get houses. They get everything they want."

But on both sides of the border, police are watching La Barbie, too. They say they he is involved in drug smuggling, money laundering and murder.

Experts in narco terrorism told ABC News that the 36-year-old modern day mobster is on the verge of becoming a top boss within a Mexican drug cartel, the first American ever to do so.

'La Barbie' Reputation Takes on Mythic Proportions

"La Barbie is a fascinating character that has reached the proportions of myth," said Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence for Stratfor Global Intelligence, who has followed Valdez-Villareal's rise to power. Burton is a former counterterrorism agent with the U.S. State Department.

"He's a kid you would not expect, coming from a nice family, upper-middle class, living the American dream," Burton said. "And the next thing you know, he's swallowed up in this narco business and has become highly successful."

So how did Valdez-Villareal go from being a high school football standout in Texas to one of the most wanted narco bosses in Mexico? Authorities say it all began by selling pot on the streets of Laredo.

"We were going to buy 300 pounds of marijuana. We met up with him, we talked, we negotiated," recalled Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar.

When the officers went to complete the deal, Valdez-Villareal never showed up.

"You know, I guess he smelled something," said Cuellar.

'La Barbie' Moves Across Border, Joining with Mexican Cartels

Soon, Valdez-Villareal took his drug business across the border, where his charisma, personality and fluency in English and Spanish put him in the good graces of the drug cartel leaders.

"He knows both sides," said a Texas homicide detective who asked ABC News to keep his identity a secret. "He knows our way of thinking, our ways of operating, so he uses that to his advantage. It helps him tremendously."

The detective says that La Barbie quickly went from pot dealer to cartel hit man.

"That's how he started building a name for himself," the detective said, claiming that Valdez-Villareal had personally killed or ordered the deaths of hundreds of people.

La Barbie became the enforcer for a major drug cartel, waging war against another cartel, officials say. In 2005 and 2006, the border city of Nuevo Laredo was their battlefield, where there were nearly 200 murders a year.

"This is like the mafia wars of the '50s and '60s playing out in New York City as to which crime family is going to take control," said the detective.

Message to the Mexican Government

So brazen is Valdez-Villareal, authorities said, that he sent a message to the Mexican government printed in a local newspaper.

Filmmaker Rusty Fleming, who researched Valdez for his film 'Drug Wars,' summarized the message, saying, "You're never going to eradicate the supply of dope any more than you are going to eradicate the demand ... somebody's going to do it and I'm the lesser of all evils. We don't kill women and children. [...] If you're going to have somebody smuggling drugs through our country to the U.S. and the world, it should be me."

Where is Edgar Valdez-Villareal now? Some say he's on the beach in Acapulco, hiding out in plain sight.

"He's probably had some plastic surgery," speculated Fleming. "Many of your high level drug lords, especially those wanted in the U.S., do some kind of facial reconstruction or something to alter their looks."

No Contact With His Mother

On the American side of the border, ABC News tracked down Valdez-Villareal's mother, who described him as a good man, but admitted she hasn't heard from her son "in a very long time."

"There is never a good outcome with a kid like this," said the detective, who asked to remain anonymous. "He's either going to be killed or captured by the Mexican military or federal police inside of Mexico, or he is going to die in a hail of bullets by a cartel rival."

That's the tragic, high price of crime in the Mexican drug wars.

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20 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd say, "Good looking" is the MYTH part.

GC said...

He looks like a menonita...no offense.

Anonymous said...

La barbie has his days numbered his he has no allies el chapo and el mayo want him dead. He's in a civil war with hector beltran leyva , he is also hated by los zetas and the gulf cartel. he won't last long by himself.

Anonymous said...

The 1st american to do so pues no dicen los gringos que garcia abrego era americano tambien.

Anonymous said...

Y Pablo Acosta tambien era Americano naturalizado.

Anonymous said...

Quedran decir "estadeunidenses" porque "americanos" somos todos los que vivimos en sur, centro, y norte america. gracias!

Anonymous said...

La Barbie will be next, in a youtube video being beheaded.
Watch your back chickesh#t There are coming for you soon.:)

Anonymous said...

Pablo Acosta era el jefe de jefes

Anonymous said...

He has to have allies with some cartel or by now he would be dead, most probably to the Sinaloa Cartel, some people think they know it all.

Anonymous said...

foolish post ....I am close to this person and I can assure you all that he will not be on youtube being beheaded he has already taken the full reins as capo of the BLO and and there is a reason all this madness is happening in acapulco ...and I can assure you that hector won't claim leadership of the organization with his own last name ...and el chapo has no problem with edgar and his sicarios ....we are the new BLO!! not to mention we brought peace to our new allies in order to make money so keep on watching and assuming the wrong stories because the people in the silver mines is proof that we are ridding the area of trash and Z

Anonymous said...

I love how "close" friends of cartel bosses with 5M prices on their head have time to read and post comments on the site.

Anonymous said...

keep assuring yourself that we dont have time to use a computer and the internet my friend . there is a reason our boss is living in plush home and goes where he pleases ...this is not the USA my friend ...we even speak your language

Anonymous said...

Anonymous ... why don't you tell us what's the reason of the madness happening in acapulco?

Anonymous said...

Barbies family needs to be murderd. If a news reporter can find them so can a few of barbies ememies. Hit the man where it hurts and make him pay for his crimes.

Anonymous said...

Edgar Valdez-Villareal is a informant for the U.S government. In 2007 he was interrogated by D.E.A / F.B.I joint task force on border security in Dallas Texas. He was placed under watch of 2 high ranking ICE handlers and was placed on the payroll under the orders of passing along Intel on specific U.S/ MX targets. The killing of Arturo Beltran Leyva as well as a raid on a narco party a week prior were due to information he passed along.

Jessamyn said...

likely other drug lord kingpins, traffickers, gunmen, la barbie deserves to be killed. they are worst than jack the ripper.

Anonymous said...

Wow.... this is all evil.... Thank GOD this awful person has been cought.

Anonymous said...

This guy was never an all star in High school, who ever did this story should get it straight!! The dude was in prison for drunk driving during High school years and killed a girl went to prison and never graduated.... He came from a father that paved the way of this evil carrer he choose to take. People that grow up with LA BARBIE were never impress with him, never was he a good man at all...

Anonymous said...

HE's captured now

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous- know it all!!

your comments are so funny and ridiculous....
you should get your facts straight before commenting on anything having to do with La Barbie. First of, he was a football star; second, he was never in jail for drunk driving; third, he never killed a girl.

anyone close to him would know this info....
he's always been on top and will continue, mark my words!!

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