La Barbie sentenced to 49 years in prison

Who is 'La Barbie'?

Five years later, he was extradited to the U.S.to face charges.

"Valdez and Montemayor are charged with leading the efforts for a top Mexican cocaine cartel with sending drugs into the United States while funneling millions of dollars in cash back into Mexico", said former U.S. Attorney John Horn in 2015.

A Texan who ascended the ranks of one of Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels was sentenced Monday to 49 years and one month in prison and fined $192,000, the Justice Department says. He pleaded guilty in January 2016 to charges of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine, and conspiring to launder money.

Duffey wasn't swayed, telling Valdez that his actions were despicable and amounted to a betrayal of his family and his country. He has pleaded not guilty, and his case is pending. Valdez received credit for the eight years he had already spent in prison, including the time behind bars in Mexico.

"My parents taught me right from wrong and to stay away from drugs", Valdez said in court.


Over the course of two decades, the Laredo, Texas, native and onetime high school football player trafficked marijuana before developing a network - beginning in New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee - by which he was regularly shipping between 150 and 180 kilograms of cocaine into multiple cities, Pak said.

After Mexican marines killed Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009, Valdez and Beltran Leyva's brother, Hector, began a bloody fight for control that left dismembered and decapitated bodies in the streets and often hanging from bridges in Cuernavaca and Acapulco. Valdez, a Texas-born drug smuggler and leader in the Beltran Leyva cartel, was captured August 30 by Mexican authorities in a residential area near Mexico City.

At the time, then-Mexican President Felipe Calderon called Villarreal 'one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and overseas'. She acknowledged that her brother had strayed but insisted he was still a good person. She said Valdez was only trying to help out when the drug dealing started.

A federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia, ruled Edgar Valdez Villarreal, called "La Barbie" for his light eyes and fair skin, must also forfeit $192m (£143m). If Edgar Valdez Villarreal behaves himself in jail, he will be eligible for release when he is around 80 years old.

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