A Mexican judge has approved the extradition to the United States of the father-in-law of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, a former leader of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.
U.S. prosecutors accuse 38-year-old Carlos Montemayor Gonzalez of “criminal conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering,” the AG’s office said in a statement.
Montemayor Gonzalez is waiting for the AG’s office and the Foreign Relations Secretariat to complete the procedures to hand him over to U.S. agents, an AG’s office spokesman told Efe.
The suspect has been transferred from a detention center in Mexico City to a prison in Tepic, the capital of the western state of Nayarit.
Montemayor “is accused of being one of the main leaders of a criminal organization dedicated to the importation, transportation and distribution of large quantities of cash and cocaine on U.S. territory,” the AG’s office said.
The suspect and two associates were arrested Nov. 23 in Mexico City by Federal Police officers.
A U.S. federal court in Louisiana presented a “formal request” for Valdez Villarreal’s extradition for alleged “criminal conspiracy and distribution of more than five kilograms of cocaine,” the AG’s office said in November.
Valdez Villarreal, who was born on Aug. 11, 1973, in Laredo, Texas, was a high-level member of the Beltran Leyva organization.
The gang led by Valdez Villarreal has been fighting a rival faction for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel.
The 37-year-old Valdez Villarreal, who got his nickname because of his fair skin and blue eyes, was arrested by Federal Police on Aug. 30.
Control of the cartel has been up for grabs since powerful drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed in a shootout with marines on Dec. 16, 2009, in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state and main bastion of the criminal organization.
The organization created by the five Beltran Leyva brothers – Marcos Arturo, Mario Alberto, Carlos, Alfredo and Hector – smuggles cocaine, marijuana and heroin.
The cartel is also involved in people trafficking, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, contract hits and arms trafficking.
Two weeks after Arturo was killed, Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested on Dec. 30 in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, where he was going by the alias of Carlos Gamez.
Arturo and Mario Alberto shared the leadership of the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the powerful Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Valdez Villarreal is currently being held at a federal prison in Mexico state.