‘Missing’ cartel hitman may be witness at US trial of Mexico’s top cop

The Post has learned that one of the main witnesses, who may be a convicted drug trafficker that mysteriously disappeared from federal custody last year, may be a key witness in the corruption trial of former top Mexican cop Genaro Luna García, who is currently on trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

According to The Post’s source, it is anticipated that Edgar Valdez-Villareal, also recognized as “La Barbie,” will become a significant informant during Garcia Luna’s trial. Valdez-Villareal, who was convicted of drug smuggling and financial illicit activities, is currently serving a lengthy sentence until 2056 at USP Coleman II, a high-security federal penitentiary located close to Orlando, Florida. In November, amidst speculations of his negotiation with federal prosecutors, he mysteriously disappeared from the Bureau of Prisons records.

A representative for the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York had no statement.

García Luna, the former Secretary of Public Security who once led the country’s fight against drug trafficking, is accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from El Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel to ensure the safe passage and protection of drug routes, often by stuffing briefcases with cash.

Valdez-Villareal had been serving a 49-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering before he disappeared from the Bureau of Prisons
Valdez-Villareal had been serving a 49-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering before he disappeared from the Bureau of Prisons’ database.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

He has pleaded not guilty. Felipe Calderon, the former Mexican president who served between 2006 and 2012 in the administration, was arrested in the US in 2019. He was also the former head of security.

He is accused of warning the Sinaloa cartel about law enforcement operations in the US and sharing information about its rivals. Prosecutors say Luna García, the Mexican equivalent of the FBI, was involved in the distribution and importation of massive quantities of dangerous drugs into the US.

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Genaro García Luna (left), once Mexico
Genaro García Luna (left), once Mexico’s top cop in the administration of former Mexican President Felipe Calderón (right), will stand trial in Brooklyn next week after allegedly taking cartel bribes. He has pleaded not guilty.
AFP via Getty Images

Valdez-Villareal, a Texas-born hitman, is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security facility in Colorado. He was the top lieutenant for the Sinaloa Cartel, a convicted drug dealer, and operated under the command of the ruthless Leyva Beltran cartel, which is one of Mexico’s most notorious criminal organizations. Valdez-Villareal headed the enforcement group of the Los Negros, an underworld faction associated with the Leyva Beltran cartel.

As per news reports from Mexico, Valdez-Villareal, acting as a chief of the enforcement division known as Los Negros for the Beltrán-Leyva cartel, engaged in acts of torture, frequently recording them on video, and also enlisted police officers and members of rival cartels as informants. Despite the existence of substantial rewards amounting to millions of dollars, Valdez-Villareal managed to evade capture by authorities for an extended period, displaying a strong penchant for luxurious attire and costly timepieces.

La Barbie has reportedly accused about members of Calderón’s government with colluding with cartels.
La Barbie has reportedly accused members of Calderón’s government with colluding with cartels.
AP

According to federal prison records, Valdez-Villareal was slated to stay in federal custody at a maximum security establishment in Florida until July 27, 2056. He earned the moniker La Barbie due to his fair complexion and blond hair.

According to a report in El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, Valdez-Villarreal has made multiple claims about collaboration between the cartels and individuals from Calderón’s administration during the previous 12 years. Valdez-Villarreal was apprehended in 2010 in Lerma, a Mexico City suburb, as part of a well-coordinated effort led by García Luna.

García Luna (above) orchestrated the 2010 arrest of La Barbie.
García Luna (above) orchestrated the 2010 arrest of La Barbie.
AFP via Getty Images

In 2012, incarcerated in his prison cell, La Barbie penned a letter to a Mexican journalist, stating, “I am aware that he has received funds from me, stemming from narcotics trade and organized criminal activities.”

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In the previous month, the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, insisted on being informed about the whereabouts of Valdez-Villareal after US prison officials stated that he was no longer being held in their custody.

“Stated López Obrador during a recent press briefing, “The US administration needs to promptly provide clarification [regarding the situation].” In the event of any agreement, nonetheless, we would be obliged to take action if grievances arise in Mexico.”

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