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Son of (Uncle) Sam?

8 September 2010

Lydia Cacho — who last week notched up another big journalism prize for her unflinching investigative journalism — was paid the unusual compliment power pays to truth. She was illegally detained in 2006 in retaliation for her investigation of sex tourism in Cancún. Here, Cacho digs out her notes on “El Barbie”.

Although originally published in Monday’s El Universal, my rough translation is from Plan B. La otra historia de “La Barbie” published on Regeneracíon, the on-line journal very much in the spirit of the original Regeneracíon, whose editors, the Flores Magon brothers, had to contend with both Mexican hitmen and U.S. agents in the course of speaking truth to power.

Like Cacho, I sometimes wonder if Eddy Valdez didn’t, unlike most supposed big time Mexican gangsters, get taken alive because he is protected by somebody even more powerful than Chapo Guzmán.  Like his Uncle Sam, perhaps?

In February 2005, an eyewitness gave José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, then the “drug czar” of the Mexican Justice Department (PGR), detailed testimony on the criminal activities of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, nicknamed “Barbie”. Edgar, born in Texas in 1973, fled to Mexico after being arrested twice in the U.S. (for homicide at 18 and drug trafficking at 21). His uncle, then leader of the Los Chachos gang in Nuevo Laredo, protected him, hiding “Barbie” in his mansion in San Augustine, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Monterrey.

Barbie was able to fly pure cocaine and weapons to Toluca and Veracruz in a twin-engine Cessna (piloted by Luis B. M.; registered XB-EBA in the name of James Lobeira).  When his uncle died, Barbie took over as head of the gang, offering his services to the major capos, and going on to become the head killer for the Beltran Leyvas (whom he supposedly betrayed in Morelos).

The witness, whom I personally interviewed five years ago gave the addresses of all those involved. Vasconcelos received death threats[1] from Barbie, the American whose illegal stay in Mexico lasted over twenty years (until a few days ago).

Edgar Valdez’s ex-wife had a restaurant in Nuevo Laredo where Barbie’s compadre, Jorge Gonzalez (el Batman) was always to be found.  Since 1999, he laundered money through a construction company he ran in Dallas, Texas, where Valdez has an extensive network of drug distributors well-protected by police and political collaborators.  In Las Vegas, his partner “Sasha” and her husband, “El Negro” launder money for Valdez through three casinos and  a brothel they own.  It is curious that for years Edgar Valdez, in his own jet, was flying from Monterrey to Toluca and Guerrero without being stopped by authorities. The DEA apparently was pursuing a U.S. citizen who “owned” immigration agents in both Mexico and the United States and let one of the “most wanted” narcos in their country fly in with hundreds of tons of cocaine.

If Edgar Valdez had a role model, it was Isaac Guttnan Esternberger, the innovator of the motorcycle-mounted hit-squads of Colombia.  Guttnan and Valdez both understood that young men from the slums, without access to education and full of pent-up social resentments, have a need to belong.  Valdez, who committed his first murder at age 18, gave them a place as the masters of life and death.  It’s also worth nothing that Barbie’s links to the sex trafficking of women have not even been mentioned by the authorities, who irresponsibly have painted him as a womanizer, not an abuser of women.

What is clear is that without a formal collaboration of a network of corruption by Americans from Texas to Louisiana, and west to Nevada, Valdez could not have been hauled in trailer-loads of cash and heavy weapons for his henchmen. This story reminds us that the U.S. should look at themselves with the same harshness with which they look at  Mexico. I sense that Barbie laughs because he knows that if he is deported to face trial in his own country his testimony will lead to chaos in Washington, where they are prepared to scrub him clean in the purifying waters of of Plan Merida.

[1] Vasconcelos was killed along with then Secretarío de Gobernacíon Juan Camilo Mouriño in a November 2008 plane crash attributed to wind turbulence and faulty maintenance.  However, as Malcolm Beith (then with the Mexico City News) wrote:  “His efforts against the Beltrán Leyva brothers, who purportedly ordered two attempts on Vasconcelos’ life earlier this year, have prompted much theorizing over Tuesday’s plane crash.

“In television interviews this week, former anti-organized unit chief Samuel González Ruiz, who worked with Vasconcelos over the years, questioned why such a key man in the war on drugs would not have had a better security detail.”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 September 2010 12:18 pm

    Fascinating! It’s obvious that, with unlimited (illegal) money, “…what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!”.

  2. Frank permalink
    8 September 2010 1:18 pm

    “Like Cacho, I sometimes wonder if Eddy Valdez didn’t, unlike most supposed big time Mexican gangsters, get taken alive because he is protected by somebody even more powerful than Chapo Guzmán. Like his Uncle Sam, perhaps?”


    A few days ago you were speculating that Eddy was taken alive because he was captured by the Federales and not the “executioners” of the military.

    Next you will be speculating Eddy is an operative of the CIA and funneling profits to the CIA for a secrect war. (I have inside intel but I am NOT talking)

    • 8 September 2010 8:13 pm

      Huh? I didn’t say anything about the C.I.A., and neither did Lydia Cacho… SHE (not I) suggests Valdez has corrupted U.S. officials, something I believe to be plausible. Try to read what is written, Frank, and making shit up to fit your own narrative.

      • Frank permalink
        9 September 2010 3:16 am


        Read my comment again I said “Next” you will be speculating about the CIA, comprendes?

        And you did make a comment about Barbie being taken alive because he was arrested by federales and not the military, remember?

        I am NOT making shit up, NEXT time use your reading comprehension, lol.

  3. Frank permalink
    8 September 2010 3:18 pm

    Another story about the capture of La/El Barbie.

    • Jose Guadalupe Garcia Cavazos permalink
      8 September 2010 11:19 pm

      Whoa! interesting stuff. Like everyone else on that story commented, I too, find it hard to believe that “LaBarbie” just let himself be captured by municipal police. Come on! Edgar was armed to the teeth with a fucking grenade launcher man. This guy is a ruthless killer, and he didnt blow away those cops?….I wonder how he really ended up in custody.?

  4. Jose Guadalupe Garcia Cavazos permalink
    8 September 2010 11:11 pm


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