|What was behind the smile? Perhaps he was thinking how his secrets will cut him a sweet deal|
by Dianne Schiller
"He is in the middle of everything," said Mike Vigil , a retired chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"He deals with the people at the top and, at the same time, directs people at the bottom. He'd have tremendous knowledge," Vigil said of Valdez.
The U.S. government offered a reward of up to $2 million for his capture.
"I think there are a lot of reasons why the Mexican government is reluctant to let him go," said his American attorney, Kent Schaffer of Houston.
"Number one, if they think there are crimes committed in Mexico, they'll want to prosecute him," Schaffer said. "And there is always a concern on the part of the government that he may know things about the government that may prove to be an embarrassment for the government."
Before his arrest two years ago, Valdez was the heir apparent to lead the heavy-hitting Beltran Leyva Cartel after leader Arturo Beltran Leyva, the so-called "boss of bosses," who was killed in a gunbattle with the Mexican military.
Valdez's attorney has said the accused gangster, who is notoriously known among his foes, would be safer in the U.S.
Valdez is charged in federal indictments in Atlanta, New Orleans and his hometown of Laredo and accused of running drugs across the U.S.
Agreements almost certainly would be on the table to offer Valdez leniency in exchange for cooperating.
Juan Garcia Abrego, the former head of another cartel, refused to cooperate when he was captured and sent to the U.S. and now is serving multiple life sentences.
Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who took over a few years after Abrego was captured as the top leader, reached a plea agreement to cooperate in 2009 after he was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. The 45-year-old Cardenas is due to be released in 2025.
Since the world last saw Valdez in September 2010 - clad in an expensive green Polo shirt and flanked by hooded Mexican agents who captured him outside of Mexico City - the behind-the scenes tug-of-war over his fate has gone unresolved.
The United States twice has requested he be extradited to face American justice, or be deported.
Mexico, in turn, has kept him locked in a fortress-like police base, then the Toluca prison where he now sits.
Grew up in Laredo
Valdez was born and raised in Laredo. He played high school football there, and a coach nicknamed him "La Barbie," like the doll, for the color of his hair and eyes.
His family has kept a low profile but last year spoke with the Houston Chronicle and other media about the need to have his rights, such as access to a toilet and clean clothing, protected.
Schaffer declined to comment on whether Valdez knew the military men in the latest round of charges, but he said authorities likely would either prosecute him or seek his cooperation, if he knew anything of value.
Schaffer noted that shortly after Valdez was arrested, he seemed destined to be quickly sent to the U.S. But instead, Mexican officials cut off communication with Valdez's legal team and put him in prison.
Vigil, the former DEA agent, said Mexico likely wants to send a message. "They want to show they are able to arrest high-level traffickers and keep them in prison in Mexico," he said. "Unfortunately, they have a very low success rate in federal prosecutions."Source Houston Chron
To access further information, the backstory, and legal documents see the links I have added below
RE: Rafael Cardenas "El Rolex" and Osiel's nephew PLEA AGREEMENT HERE
RE: Juan Garcia Abrego LINK HERE AND HERE
|An undated foto from REFORMA. Abrego is standing as his uncle Jaun N Guerra sits at left|