Mexican authorities formally began extradition proceedings for Edgar Valdez Villareal, alias “La Barbie,” a former top-level member of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) who was captured in August. He is currently facing charges of drug trafficking in the US.
Mexican officials would not say whether Valdez would first face charges in Mexico where he is imprisoned and charged with multiple crimes, including kidnapping, homicide and drug trafficking, various news outlets are reporting.
Valdez, a native of Nuevo Laredo, ran for years one of Mexico’s most feared hitmen networks known as the “Pelones.” His boss, Arturo Beltran Leyva, the leader of the BLO, was killed by Mexican Marines in a shootout in December 2009, and Valdez split from the BLO and tried to form his own group.
He was captured during a routine traffic stop just outside Mexico City leading many to believe that he’d arranged to hand himself in and cooperate with U.S. and Mexican officials to reduce his time in jail. His extradition would facilitate that process because the US justice system has a more flexible system for cooperators.