Mexican-American cartel leader and hitman Edgar Valdez-Villarreal, nicknamed “La Barbie,” is “not currently in federal custody” in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The 49-year-old is known for videotaping torture sessions and decapitating dozens of enemies. He has reportedly gone missing from a federal prison in Florida where he was serving 49 years and one month. During his sentencing in June 2018, he was also fined $192,000.
According to CNN, Villarreal’s name appears as “not in BOP custody” on the agency’s website. However, bureau spokesperson Benjamin O’Cone declined to explain the reason.
“Inmates who were previously in BOP custody and who have not completed their sentence may be outside BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons,” O’Cone said in an email Tuesday.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday during a press conference: “It’s very strange what is going on in the United States with Mr. Villarreal, who is no longer registered among those in custody, and we want to know where he is… There is no reason for him to leave prison because he was condemned to many years unless there was some kind of an agreement.”
Who is Edgar Valdez-Villarreal?
The drug trafficker was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He was nicknamed La Barbie due to his white skin, blue eyes and facial features, which has been often compared to a Ken doll.
“We called him Ken Doll, mostly because his hair was blond and kinky like the doll’s,” a friend from United High School told Rolling Stone in 2011. “The coach upped the ante to Barbie, and it took off like wildfire.”
He was first arrested at the age of 19 in Texas, where he was charged with criminally negligent homicide for running over a middle-school counselor with his truck. He was not indicted.
He started dealing marijuana dealer on the streets of Laredo while he was in high school.
He was soon indicted on charges of distributing marijuana. To avoid capture he fled to Mexico, where he allegedly joined the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel – one of Mexico’s most ruthless underworld groups.
At one point, he was a top lieutenant for the Sinaloa Cartel, run by convicted drug dealer Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-Loera.
La Barbie was captured during a firefight with Mexican authorities at a rural home northwest of Mexico City in 2010. He was indicted and extradited to the US five years later, where he was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering.
In 2016, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.