American drug cartel boss Edgar Valdez-Villareal, known as “La Barbie,” is going to plead guilty to federal drug trafficking crimes in an Atlanta federal court. He was a leader of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel.
Valdez-Villareal was born in Texas and as a high school football player in Laredo, his coach nicknamed him La Barbie because of his blonde hair. He started off as a pot dealer before heading down to Mexico after high school and joining the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.
After some years rising up the ranks, La Barbie joined the ruthless Beltran Leyva cartel. By pleading guilty to some charges and perhaps even cooperating, La Barbie is hoping for a more lenient sentence. Currently he faces the possibility of life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
La Barbie made use of his U.S. citizenship and native English to frequently move money back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico on behalf of his fellow drug traffickers. Cartel money frequently moved through various areas of Texas and Atlanta, Ga.
Mexican authorities captured La Barbie in August 2010. In 2014, La Barbie and his former boss El Chapo joined forces to lead a hunger strike in the prison where they were being detained in Mexico. The hunger strike was coordinated in spite of the two men not having direct contact with one another.
La Barbie, 42, was sent to the U.S. to face federal drug trafficking charges in October of last year. The transfer of La Barbie from Mexico to the U.S. comes as a result of El Chapo’s prison break in July of last year in which U.S. authorities lost faith in the abilities of their Mexican counterparts.
La Barbie’s lawyer said that “There’s no plea agreement,” according to Reuters. La Barbie will plead guilty specifically to: money laundering, conspiring to distribute cocaine, and importing as well as exporting cocaine.
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