Edgar Valdez Villarreal from Texas, alias "the Barbie," is the third major suspected drug lord to fall in Mexico in the past 10 months and a coup for President Felipe Calderon in his embattled war on powerful cartels.
Valdez, who got his improbable nickname from his fair complexion, is wanted in the United States for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine and inside Mexico is blamed for a brutal turf war that has included bodies hung from bridges, decapitations and shootouts as he and a rival fought for control of the divided Beltran Leyva cartel, The Associated Press reports.
U.S. authorities had offered a $2 million reward for his arrest. Valdez Villareal became a top member of the drug gang after the Mexican Navy killed founder Arturo Beltran Leyva in December, analysts such as Jorge Chabat said. His organization has been battling the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas for control of smuggling routes the traffickers use to send cocaine, marijuana and heroin to the U.S.
La Barbie is suspected of taking a leading role in drug trafficking in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, according to information reported by Foro TV. The report said Valdez is bilingual and enjoys luxury cars and designer clothes, BusinessWeek reports.