Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexico Drug Suspect Seeks U.S. Justice

Monday, September 13, 2010 |

In Rare Request, Defense Lawyer for Alleged Kingpin 'La Barbie,' a Texas Native, Asks Americans to Pursue Deportation.

By Jose De Cordoba

Edgar Valdez Villareal, a U.S.-born alleged drug lord who was captured in Mexico last week, wants to return to his roots in Texas to face trial rather than stay in a Mexican jail, his lawyer said.

Mr. Valdez, called "La Barbie" in Mexico for his green eyes and sandy colored hair, has a reputation for beheading opponents in Mexico's violent drug wars. He fears that he will get killed in a Mexican prison, according to Kent Schaffer, his Houston-based lawyer.

Mr. Schaffer asked U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual to appeal to the Mexican government to deport Mr. Valdez to the U.S., where he faces charges of drug trafficking.

"I am formally requesting that you petition the Mexican Government to deport Mr. Valdez back to the United States as soon as possible," said the letter, dated Sept. 8, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. "It is my belief that as long as he is incarcerated in Mexico, his life is in danger from other prisoners and, possibly from the Mexican authorities."

Mr. Valdez denies all charges against him, and denies that he was responsible for any beheadings, Mr. Schaffer said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy said it deferred to the Mexican government on the deportation issue. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department wouldn't comment specifically on Mr. Schaffer's request. "We are working with our colleagues in Mexico to ensure La Barbie faces justice in a courtroom," she said.

Mr. Valdez is being held for a 40-day period while Mexican police investigate charges against him. Mexican officials say they will decide later on whether he will face charges in Mexico or whether he will be deported to the U.S., where he faces charges of trafficking tons of cocaine in Georgia, Texas and Louisiana.

A spokeswoman for the office of Mexico's attorney general said Mr. Valdez is being held at federal police headquarters, where he is safe.

The deportation request is an unusual one in the history of Latin American drug trafficking. In the 1980s, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar led a bombing campaign against the government there partly to avoid being sent to the U.S. More recently, scores of Mexican drug traffickers have been forcibly extradited to the U.S.

Mr. Valdez, 37 years old, is the first major suspected Mexican drug lord captured alive since his former boss, Arturo Beltran Leyva, known as the "Boss of Bosses," was killed in a gunbattle with Mexican marines in December. Ignacio Coronel, a leading figure in the Sinaloa Cartel, died in a gunfight with Mexican soldiers in July.

Since Mr. Valdez has worked with most of Mexico's top drug barons, including the country's most powerful trafficker, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, he could provide officials with valuable intelligence, analysts say.

Mr. Schaffer said "we have no plans to cut any kind of deal" with the U.S.

Born and raised in the border city of Laredo, Texas, Mr. Valdez was a high-school football standout who went on to become one of Mexico's most-wanted criminals.

Mr. Valdez's deportation would raise the possibility that the alleged drug lord could cut a deal for a reduced sentence with U.S. authorities in exchange for information.

"It's quite obvious that the U.S. government would have a great interest in getting assistance and cooperation of a high-level member of the Mexican mafia," says Ruben Oliva, a Miami-based defense lawyer for some high-level drug traffickers. "There is a very high expectation that this one is one of the first guys who will step up and do the right thing."

Speed is of the essence, as the Mexican prison system is notoriously dangerous and Mr. Valdez has a lot of enemies, says Mr. Oliva. "La Barbie is in an incredible amount of danger of getting killed in a Mexican prison," says Mr. Oliva. "The sooner you put him in a situation where he can cooperate, the fresher the information will be."

Two weeks ago, José Luis Carrizales, who like Mr. Valdez was an alleged enforcer for the Sinaloa cartel, was killed just hours after being transferred to the penitentiary in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, which is largely controlled by a rival drug gang known as the Zetas.

Controversy has swirled around Mr. Valdez since his arrest last week. He startled many Mexicans by smiling during his presentation to reporters in Mexico's version of the "perp walk." Many newspaper and TV commentators speculated that the smile suggested Mr. Valdez hadn't been captured, as the government says, but voluntarily surrendered in exchange for a lighter sentence. Conflicting versions of Mr. Valdez's capture have fed the controversy. Mexican media, basing their accounts on a police report, said Mr. Valdez was arrested after federal police pulled over his three-car convoy for speeding. According to this account, the police didn't know who they had stopped until Mr. Valdez got out, identified himself and surrendered.

The official government version, sketchy on details, said Mr. Valdez was captured after his rural estate was surrounded by federal police in the culmination of a yearlong search.

Mr. Schaffer, Mr. Valdez's lawyer, denies that his client turned himself in. Mr. Schaffer says Mexican police pressured a close acquaintance of Mr. Valdez to send him a text message urgently requesting a meeting. When Mr. Valdez showed up at the spot, he was surrounded by police and had no choice but to surrender. "And that was the end," Mr. Schaffer said.

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20 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Leave him in Mexico. Let the wheels of his justice turn.

Anonymous said...

i say the country who was able to catch him should try him first (MEXICO)...he deserves to be left in a Mexican prison...not so tough now huh?

Anonymous said...

A Mexican prison! Really? Mexican prisons only suck for la gente. We just had 80 escape from Reynosa "prison" and over 200 escapees this year alone. My God, the "Mexican prison" lets the narcos out at night to roam the country like vampires. Can you at least find a Mexican prison without any laundry trucks?

Anonymous said...

Yeah put him in the mexican prison so he can escape and remind everybody once again that JUSTice does not exist in Mexoco. Mexican Prisons? pfft.

Anonymous said...

he is an American citizen and should be extradited to the USA..the info he could provide would be very valuable ...mebbe that is why they want to keep him in mexico ..to silence him and protect the Z

Buela Chivis said...

I posted it over the weekend but it is worthy of a repost. Schaffer is a fantastic atty out of Houston ,,his rep is agressive and innovative. He also is exp @ 500+ exp. Schaffer states that Edgars brother contacted him shortly before capture as he knew it was imminent. ATTY is criminal state/federal defense with apx 1/3 cases in federal court. Barbie picked well and I would be stunned if he was not returned to the US

atty says; BARBIE WAS NOT physically coereced, rather his family was threaten. Also the des had a friend of edgars text him that he was surrounded and to give up peacefully.

The WSJ is the only source that saw the letter to the US Embassy so I conclude the atty was the annon source. The article over the weekend is the best I have seen and I have followed this angle for a week. I will post it below...it also has great interactive timeline of cartel war. Houston Chon also has good info from Schaffer..

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704505804575483902049860786.html

Buela said...

PS..

Remember US had a federal indictment against Edgar. In Mx he may be killed thereby destroying the source of good info. He likes to talk and has no loyality to anyone but himself. US Justice is pick your atty well, have money and sing like a canary for the best deal.

Santiago-Del Rio said...

This turd, Edgar Villareal, had touched bases with his lawyer months before he was captured or gave up(whichever version you want to believe). A woman and her adult children that were with Villareal when he was taken into custody would go to Laredo,Tx and make contact with his parents. I hope Mexico keeps Villareal, tries him and puts him in their prison system. even if he is an American citizen. The intelligence that he could provide to the US is not something grand that the US does not already know. This coward had planned this scenario, that is why he had that shit-eating grin in front of the cameras.

Anonymous said...

I'm an american and I say Mexico can keep him and do whatever it pleases with him. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Turn him over to the Zetas.

Anonymous said...

Does the prison in Texas have death penatly? If he was extradited to the U.S and jailed in Texas, he would die unless he goes to a different state where jail doesn't have death penalty.

Buela Chivis said...

@ 2:53

Yes Texs has capital punishment and liberal useage of it, death means death in Tx. However Edgar is not accused in his indictments of crimes punished by death. He will be tried in federal court, I believe the indictments are in 3 states; beginning in 1998,in Tx, 2006-Louisana and 2007 Georgia. In any federal court the standards are the same, unlike state law.

His crimes are money laundering & drug trafficking, and depending on any deal he cuts he could potentially serve time anywhere including max prison such as pelican bay, however if he sings and gives up valuable info he most likely will go to a cushy white collar crime institution.

Because of the dates of the US indictment and the seriousness of the crimes he has good potential of being extradicted

Buela Chivis said...

@ Santiago-Del Rio

You made me smile with your bad word "turd".
I heard about the woman but I heard his girlfriend her mother and sister were with him. I am surprised to hear Mx did not interrogate them, are you saying they are American? I thought they were Mx.

I can appreciate how you and others feel about Mx keeping him, but that is emotion not a wise move. Think about this; he stays in Mx and is killed or worse buys his way out such as El Chapo did, is that productive? All that hard work from Mx and DEA to capture him for that to happen? and gain what? There is always someone to take his place. I am pragmatic and my good sense says take him to the US...extract valuable info that would generate key captures and gaining knowledge of operations and where money is laundered overseas. Cartels invest in 40 countries in businesses, property and banks with little scrutiny.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Buela stop being a blog hog....it's obvious you have some kind of hangup with La Barbie

Anonymous said...

some of you pendejos sound real tuff here...mebbe turn you over to la leytra...

Santiago-Del Rio said...

September 13,2010 5:21 PM
Buela Chivas
Yes, they are Mexican citizens.
Have a good day Buela Chivas!

Buela Chivis said...

@ 8:36

Bullying from a child is not cute, from an adult it is darn "feo".

"hangup" with Edgar? not a hangup but true I am very interested in knowing about him for the reasons I mentioned before. He is an excellent social study, if you cannot see the value in that please put your 3D lenses on to see & think greater than one dimentional. There are so many interesting layers and twists to this guy and I feel we can learn much, not the criminal factor, persay, but in the social sense. But enough! there I go blog-hogging again. JeJe

For sure you are officially off the Buela posada gift list forever. But answer why you care how much I write? It does not preclude you from writing, perhaps one day maybe you can write something insightful? Nah, wishful thinking on my part.

Seriously...answer a Q...why not scroll past the Buela name? I do not hide behind Anonymous when I post, in doing so sometimes one becomes a target for idiots but I am too old to care and always consider the source.

@ Santiago
I am sure the US would not allow them legally into the US if they are Mx. after harboring a fugitive, or is it accessory after the fact?
I will be passing through your neck of the woods soon...I love Del Rio, awesome people live there and have welcomed me. They have been important to my humanitarian work. DO you know Dr. Mae Pierce? She "retired" to volunteer full time with my foundation she runs my centers for blind children in Mexico.

Santiago-Del Rio said...

Buela Chivas. I know Ms.Mae Pierce,she worked for SFDRCISD before she retired. She worked with the eye seeing impaired children. She has a big heart, as she is/was working with other humane groups in Cd Acuna. Bless you and Ms.Pierce as you try to improve the lives of others.

Buela Chivis said...

@Santiago-Del Rio

I just had a feeling because Dr. Mae is so well known. I simply love her she is my dear friend. She runs the low vision/blind center and braille classes at my centers. She works for Fountain of Life also, doing great work...

SHe will go to Chiapas with me as I build schools for the Zapatista children.

Anonymous said...

Buela Chivis, thank you for the explaining. From 2:53pm

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