Tag Archives: Edgar Valdez

Doubts about “El Barbie’s” capture

After Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas detailed an account of an elaborate operation to capture Édgardo Valdez, “El Barbie,” at a safe house in Mexico State on August 30th (14 month investigation, 1,400 Federal Police operatives in three concentric circles, etc.), alternative narratives started to circulate. Speculation, fed by the lack of force during the arrest of the senior cartel figure and El Barbie’s enigmatic smile in his arrest photos, centered on a negotiated surrender. According to El Universal, Valdez was arrested almost by accident, when his three-car convoy was arrested for speeding, and he promptly identified himself and gave a detailed confession of his crimes as a drug chieftain.  The Ministry of Public Security issued a statement saying, “The specific operational details and the intelligence will continue to be confidential, in order to maintain operational advantage in current and future operations,” without denying the press stories. (Universal 9/8, 9/13, SSP 9/8, Reforma 9/12)

Presidential Informe focuses on security and unity

President Calderón’s fourth Informe largely focused on highlighting the ten initiatives announced in last year’s message, and called for Congress to pass blocked reform legislation.  The greatest emphasis was put on security, with the capture of Édgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie,” providing a much-needed exclamation point. The President, however, warned: “Today, crime is the greatest threat to peace, security, and the freedom of Mexicans. … The fight for security calls for and requires the commitment of all.  We have to close ranks to fight it. It is a cause that should be above particular interests, of ideologies, of parties. We need to understand that the common enemy of Mexicans is the criminals, not the authorities who fight the criminals. I have said that this is not, nor can it be, the fight of the President only. It needs to be part of a policy of the State that, as such, corresponds to the three levels of Government and the three powers, to the media, to all society, with each acting in its area of responsibility, and each according to his means.”

On the eve of the bicentennial of Independence, the President closed with an emotional call for unity and for taking up the challenge to close the gap between “the two Mexicos”: the Mexico of world leaders and the Mexico of extreme poverty. “Our generation has the opportunity to change Mexico. A peaceful change, that will overcome inertia, that will overcome resistance. A profound change that will make Mexico into a nation that is strong, just, prosperous, secure, clean, free democratic; the nation that we want it to be.”  (Presidencia 9/1)

Federal Police capture “La Barbie”

As widely reported, Federal Police captured Édgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie” in Lerma, Mexico State, in an operation that involved 1,200 police officers. The Ministry of Public Security said that they had started tracking Valdez in June 2009.  He was said to be the chief enforcer of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, and one of the figures who was trying to assume leadership of the cartel after Arturo Beltrán Leyva was killed by Navy marines in Cuernavaca last December. Valdez is a U.S. citizen and is under indictment in the U.S.  The Mexican Government offered a Ps. 30 million reward for his arrest, and the U.S. government had a US$2 million reward out for Valdez. (Excelsior 8/31)

Fear of gang violence turns Cuernavaca into a ‘ghost town’

Most businesses in this normally vibrant city and popular weekend getaway shut down by 8pm on Saturday night, as rumors and threats of drug-gang violence spread on Twitter and Facebook. Commented El Universal: “By the afternoon, the collective psychosis was such that scores—hundreds—of businesses closed their doors. The city seemed to become a ghost town that night. The Army staged patrols, and the police were on maximum alert. Ultimately, nothing happened.” The number of gang killings and fire bombings of businesses in Cuernavaca and the state of Morelos has soared in the wake of the government’s killing of Arturo Beltrán Leyva last December, as the Beltrán Leyva cartel’s former enforcer, Édgar Valdez Villarreal, “La Barbie,” tries to take control of the market from what’s left of the family.  Many of the bombings have been marked by the initials of a new group, the ‘South Pacific Cartel (CPS).’ (Universal 4/18)