A former high school football player from Texas, who became a Mexican drug lord, has been sentenced to more than 49 years in prison on cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges. A federal judge in Atlanta on June 11, 2018, also slapped a fine of $192 million on 44-year-old Edgar Valdez-Villarreal alias “La Barbie.” In January 2016, Valdez-Villarreal had pleaded guilty to charges of importing and distributing cocaine, and money laundering.
“Valdez-Villarreal imported tons of cocaine into the U.S. while ruthlessly working his way up the ranks of one of Mexico’s most powerful cartels, leaving in his wake countless lives destroyed by drugs and violence,” U.S. Attorney Byung Pak said in a statement.
Born in Laredo, Texas, Valdez-Villarreal took to crime and drug trafficking during his teen years. He was a member of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, and was arrested in Mexico in 2010. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2015, along with 12 others, by Mexican authorities. During 2004 to 2006, he was involved in distribution of thousands of kilos of cocaine in the eastern parts of the U.S., and sending drug proceeds to Mexico. After decades of drug dealing in the U.S., he had reportedly moved to Mexico.
Valdez-Villarreal is alleged to have worked as a bodyguard to Mexico’s most-wanted drug cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of Sinaloa cartel. Popularly known as El Comandante and El Guero among his associates in Beltran Leyva cartel, he is said to have risen to the ranks of the head of the gang’s hitmen. The killing of the cartel’s leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, pushed Valdez-Villarreal to undertake a violent struggle to control the reins of the organization.
Drug trafficking menace in US
The 2,000 miles of international border stretching from San Diego in California to Brownsville in Texas is a hub of drug-trafficking activities in the country. Digging trans-border narco tunnels has been one of the easiest options for moving dangerous drugs from the Mexican side into the U.S. Such tunnels are used to smuggle stupendous amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and cocaine originating from Mexico into the U.S.
The demand for addictive substances in the profitable American markets has created a colossal cross-border trafficking network, which forces drug dealers to resort to creative ways to get their wares into U.S. territory. The remote and sparsely populated landscapes, and excellent commercial infrastructure in these areas provide immense opportunities for drug trafficking organizations to engage in cross-border tunneling activities. Investigations in the past have attributed many such clandestine underground passageways to the ingenious minds of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which controls these regions.
Combating drug addiction
Addiction to mind-altering substances like cocaine and heroin is more widespread than one can ever think of. Authorities are making considerable efforts in taking a comprehensive approach to solving the cross-border drug trafficking menace, and taking appropriate action to deal with the drug crisis. However, freedom from an addiction depends on an individual’s eagerness to regain control of his or her life. In such cases, seeking services of a professional drug rehabilitation center can be beneficial.
If you or your loved one is looking for a reputed addiction treatment center, look no further than Sovereign Health, one of the best drug detox centers in California. Our experts can help you get your life back on track through a comprehensive treatment program in a safe and secure environment. You can call our 24/7 helpline number 855-682-0103 or chat online to get more information on our state-of-the-art drug detox clinics in California and other parts of the country.