Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias La Barbie, the narco-trafficker that has been accused of being one of the most bloodthirsty sicarios in the country, has such sensitive skin that he can only wear clothes made out non-allergenic material.
Once arrested by Mexican authorities he had a significant reduction in his creature comforts, starting with the fact that he could no longer use moisturizers or skin creams. In his presentation and during the interrogation by the Federal Police, it was evident he needed those products by the way he kept scratching at his arms and face, adjusting the handcuffs which also chafed his wrists.
Upon arriving at Centro de Mando, the U.S. citizen requested a change of clothes, he has been wearing the same green shirt that he was arrested in for the past few days.
The federal officers in charge of watching his cell and protecting him from other inmates couldn't understand why he refused the clothes they offered, or why Valdez Villarreal refused to shower in the common area bathroom despite his obvious skin condition, which was deteriorating. One of the officers said it was like watching a filthy person who missed his jacuzzi. If they thought he would stoop to using these public facilities, they were sadly mistaken.
PrivilegesThe skin irritation didn't subside by the time Valdez hung the phone up, but there was hope. From Texas, his brother sent him a lawyer, who got into a Toyota truck and 50 minutes after Valdez had spoken to his sibling, the lawyer was standing outside the Centro de Mando.
The discussion with prison officials centered around the interests of the rotund prisoner at the behest of his family and the famously litigious lawyer who stood before them. La Barbie touched on a few things he needed, the lack of which had been bothering him like a rock that was stuck in his shoe; he needed the necessary clothes, skin cream, a television, fresh undergarments, a DVD player, a Bible, and sandals. He was very specific, the shirts had to be the Polo brand made by famous New York designer Ralph Lauren.
After the meeting, La Barbie's lawyer along with the rest of his legal team, scoured México City from one end to the other in search of the finest threads for their client.
First stop was a boutique called Liverpool, which is near Insurgents avenue; here, they only bought a few articles of clothing. Afterwords, they went to Palacio de Hierro, where they bought clothes similar to those worn by Valdez Villarreal at the time of his arrest: each Polo shirt they bought for him cost about 1,500 pesos or 125 U.S.D.
But the errands did not end at fashion stores, they also involved banks. The lawyers had to visit three separate branches to convert $10k U.S.D. of La Barbie's money into Pesos. This is due to restrictions that were set in place by the Financial Secretary for the Federal Government in order to control the amount of dollars circulating in Mexico.
Much to his joy, La Barbie received a pair of denim jeans, a comfortable pajama set made by Nautica, and undergarments by Calvin Klein. These in particular had been sent by his brother Abel, who resides in the U.S.
What he liked most of all (although it took a while longer to get) was a pair of sandals and tennis shoes (no shoelaces allowed). At the first opportunity he couldn't wear them because they were a size 9. The lawyers went back to the Boutique on Insurgents ave. and came back with size 11's.
The detained capo not only requested name-brand items, he was also very picky on what kind of soap and cologne he would use. He was very keen on a specific fragrance made by the German designer Hugo Boss. In the department store which held large advertisements featuring actor Orlando Bloom, the lawyers had everything gift-wrapped and sealed in its plastic bags tightly, so as not to lose any aroma.
Back in the prison, the inmates and staff that worked in the laundry area received the nice sets of clothes that had come to the wash and thought it was some kind of joke: who would have that type of garb in this place?
Then they received payment to move the VIP laundry load through the system as quickly and efficiently as possible, the payment came with one of the fragrance bottles along with a note to spray it on the fabric before the clothes were to be folded. The men knew at that point that this was not a joke and they took their orders more seriously.
The cells at the bottom of the Federal Police Regional Security building get very chilly, which happens to be one of the things that causes Villarreal's skin condition to flare up. To prevent this, the lawyers went on another errand run to a commercial center located in Reforma 222 which was constructed only a few years ago by Carlos Slim.
At a hardware store called Zara Home they decided get La Barbie a gas space heater, so he wouldn't have to suffer through a cold night. The one they picked out was painted black with tiger stripes, they also bought him a good pillow, more Dove-brand soap and skin cream, a pair of shower slippers, black in color and of the brand Lacoste.
La Barbie mediated his risks. He didn't have much confidence in sanitary conditions of the public showers, which he was now obligated to use. The idea of having to wash himself in such a filthy place repulsed him. He hated the idea of contracting a foot fungus or disease and he refused to take a shower until his designer shower slippers arrived.
He began using his skin products from head to toe, for years he has fought a battle against dermatitis and his skin frequently has a pink hue, like that of a cooked shrimp. But this was no longer the case in prison; just as he had appeared before the media, La Barbie once again had a reason to smile.
As they complied with his requests, the police in charge of his custody realized the sicario who demanded respect through the way he terrorized his rivals was a man of very sensitive skin.
VIP ArraignmentThis past August 30th, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, one of the principal operators of the Beltran Leyva cartel was detained in the state of Mexico and was presented before the media. Twice, officers from the Sub-Secretary of Investigations into Organized Crime (SIEDO) tried to extract information from La Barbie. After the federal police failed to get any significant information from him, he was escorted by the marines to the office of the Attorney General (PGR).
Still he refused to break his silence and answer any questions. without any declarations, the authorities implemented Plan B, the prosecutors made a flurry of telephone calls and went through great efforts to have the hearing postponed for another 40 days. Around 1:00 a.m. the morning of October 8th, a federal agent came to the cell door and informed the Texan that he wasn't going to be leaving Centro de Mando anytime soon.
Not too many of those people accused of involvement with organized crime are placed in the cells at the security offices of the Federal Police. Only the ones who are candidates for the witness protection program are taken to this housing unit, and they are often kept in solitary confinement for their own safety. Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of Amado Carrillo, deceased leader of the Juárez, was also held in the same cells (he recently had a few weapons charges against him dismissed by a federal judge).
After La Barbie's transfer to this site, one of his neighbors became Sergio Villarreal Barragán, El Grande, a former friend and business partner of Valdez Villarreal when they both worked for Arturo Beltran Leyva. Recently, they had become rivals in the drug game after the death of their boss one year ago in December 2009.
Most the of jail population is held at the National Center for Investigations (CNI). This old building was once used to house prostitutes and other people arrested in colonia Doctores, now it mainly holds people who have been detained by the Marines. If La Barbie knew he had a chance of being sent to this place, he would most likely beg to be sent back to the United States, but didn't have the luck of Ramón Ayala or Lupe Tijerina, both of whom at one point stood a very real chance of growing old in this hotel.
During his life on the outside, it was nothing but the best for Edgar Valdez. He had a penchant for Polo shirts like the one he was wearing when he was arrested, marked by a 'London' logo. He particularly favors clothes from England.
People being arraigned are allowed to have a few personal objects in their confinement area. Clothes, books, magazines, movies, and televisions are allowed at CNI, although they aren't allowed to keep food or items of personal hygiene that aren't issued by the correctional facility.
This is how much different than the common people from colonia Doctores are treated. In Centro de Mando the Policía Federal allowed La Barbie to enjoy good food. Edgar Valdez longed for the taste of a nice, hot bowl of caldo with carrots and spicy potatoes. As he thought of the kitchen in his house, police officers entered his cell and left him a tray of cooked, smoked and dried meat, along with a platter of peanuts and other assorted nuts, grapes, papaya, natural spring water, fruit juice and a variety of candy that had been sent by his brother in the U.S.
Every 15 days he gets new magazines to read and though he isn't a book aficionado, he has been known to read them if they are of a religious nature. He keeps a copy of the Holy Bible next to his bed. In his seclusion, Valdez Villarreal keeps a 28 inch flat screen tv. The authorities wouldn't allow him to have anything bigger, much to his chagrin.
During the day he tries to find working channels to watch, but the reception is poor. He prefers to watch movies. He has seen Amarte duele, La Pontífice and the most recent film by Luis Estrada, El Infierno, which depicts the lives of narcotraffickers living in northern Mexico. He has tried repeatedly to be allowed to have a computer and a cell phone but so far he has been denied these objects because the facility rules do not permit them.
Re-encounterEl Grande and La Barbie were men of confidence to Arturo Beltrán Leyva, leader of the criminal organization which bears his last name. They worked together for El Jefe de Jefes until his untimely death. El Grande thought Valdez had betrayed his boss because he didn't provide backup for Arturo during the military operation involving the Marines in Cuernavaca; La Barbie thought El Grande gave the authorities information on Arturo's whereabouts. The details were lost after they declared war on each other.
Villarreal Barragán was born in Torreón, where he achieved the title of regional leader and representative of the Beltráns. He gained fame in states such as Durango —where a restaurant still exists that bears his nickname and the ownership of the property is attributed to him—, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Morelos, Sonora, Quintana Roo, The states of México and Puebla, the latter is where his luck ran out. On August 12th, elements of the Marina arrested him. He was taken to make his official declaration with SIEDO. Recently, the authorities have decided to have him arraigned and he has been placed in a cell next to his enemy, Valdez Villarreal.
La Barbie noticed his neighbor in the Centro de Mando had no friends or family who visited him. Only his attorney would inquire about him once in while. He also knew that El Grande had made a declaration with the Federal Public Ministry and had acquired the few benefits that were allowed to those in the witness protection program that was run by the PGR, he was most likely waiting to be debriefed. The same deal had been offered to La Barbie.
On Wednesday the 13th, La Barbie had another visit from SIEDO. He spent two days listening to the fiscal proposals to entice him into entering the witness protection program. The authorities want him to give information about the inner workings and methods of operation used by the criminal organizations, in addition to revealing the names of federal and state officials who are protecting the cartels, in exchange for very few benefits. The deal was not up to par with La Barbie, who thinks his information is more valuable than what the authorities are offering him in return at the moment.
United in disgrace, La Barbie decided to give his neighbor some of his clothes, a comb and some toothpaste. He was also included a copy of the Holy Bibly in the care package for El Grande .
Source article: http://www.msemanal.com/node/3174