On August 31 Mexican authorities arrested Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a.k.a. La Barbie. His nickname (he was said to resemble Ken the Barbie doll, with light skin and green eyes) was given by his football coach at United High School in Laredo, Texas, where he was born. At the time of his arrest there was a $2.4 million reward offered by the Mexican government for information leading to his arrest, and a $2 million reward offered by the U.S. for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the U.S. in June of 2010 for cocaine trafficking, and was indicted by the federal government of Mexico in 2002 for conspiring to distribute marijuana. Mexican authorities claimed they had been hot on his tail for about a year, barely missing him on some occasions, while sometimes capturing some of his accomplices.
He was arrested under unclear circumstances in the city of Lerma, or possibly Santa Fe (reports were contradictory), in the State of Mexico, near the border with Morelos. La Jornada newspaper in Mexico City reported that rumors were circulating among persons close to the government that Valdes had become an informant for the DEA at least eight months ago, and that he turned himself in and will become part of a witness protection program when extradited to the U.S.
After leaving Laredo he is said to have gone to Mexico City and then back to Laredo, working for the Gulf Cartel. After the arrest of Gulf Cartel boss Osiel Cardenas in 2003 he went to work for the Sinaloa cartel, at one point being a bodyguard for Chapo Guzman himself. He joined the Beltran Leyva Organization after the 2008 arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva in January 2008, an act the Beltran brothers attributed to betrayal by Chapo. This caused the two organizations to split and become rivals. Now headed by Arturo Beltran Leyva, the Beltran Organization allied itself with the Juarez Cartel. After Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed by Mexican marines in December 2009, Valdez is said to have begun to dispute the leadership of the organization now headed after Arturo's death, by Hector Beltran. In alliance now with Los Zeta, parts of the Beltran Leyva organization, led by Valdez, have in much of 2010 fought their rivals, the Gulf cartel allied with the Sinaloa cartel and the La Familia cartel in the Reynosa region across from McAllen, Texas.
In his confession he claims the violence in Juarez is caused by a rivalry between the Vicente Carrillo organization and the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran Leyva cartels. He asserts that Chapo's people refused to respect a pact that had been established and began killing rivals; Chapo himself did not want to fight, but his people refused to obey him and the violence got worse.