Wednesday, September 21, 2011

High School Jock Becomes a Mexican Drug Lord

Rolling Stone has a fascinating article about Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal, who was a typical middle class suburban jock in high school, but by the age of 30 had become one of Mexico's most feared drug lords.

"[Barbie] was also a gringo, a middle-class suburban jock who was born and raised in Texas. He is the only U.S. citizen known to have risen to the top of a Mexican cartel, and the only American on the State Department's list of targeted drug lords. (The U.S. government offered $2 million for information that would lead to his arrest.) For years, as drugs flowed into Acapulco from Colombia, Barbie controlled the main distribution routes out of the city, moving as much as two tons of coke – that's 2 million grams – into the U.S. every month. Most of the drugs went to Memphis and Atlanta, where Barbie is believed to have been the main supplier for several violent networks, including one run by the half brother of DJ Paul from Three 6 Mafia. Barbie cleared up to $130 million a year moving drugs in the States, but with typical boldness he made little effort to launder the money. Instead, he simply loaded the cash onto flatbed trailers and trucked it across the Mexican border."
––Vanessa Grigoriadis and Mary Cuddehe

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