Texan 'Barbie' Went From Linebacker to Drug Lord

Valdez rose through ranks of Sinaloa cartel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2010 10:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mexican police displayed captured drug kingpin Edgar 'Barbie' Valdez to the media yesterday and offered details on how the American rose through the ranks of its country's drug underworld. Valdez—born into a middle-class family in Laredo, Texas—was a standout high school football player and petty street dealer, but his criminal career took off after he moved to Mexico, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Valdez joined the organization of drug lord Arturo Beltran-Leyva as an enforcer and swiftly gained a reputation for extreme violence, especially beheadings. He became a major trafficker himself after the Sinaloa cartel splintered and he seized control of a faction. In an interrogation video released by Mexican authorities, Valdez—who is likely to face deportation to the US—told interrogators that he knew all the country's top drug lords and once spent $200,000 to have a film about his life made.
(Read more Edgar Valdez stories.)

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