June 23, 2020 — According to U.S. federal court documents, American-born Mexican drug cartel don, Edgar (La Barbie) Valdez, gave information to the FBI and DEA that led to his boss’ death in a shootout with authorities. Mexican magazine Aristegui Noticias ran a story last week about Valdez’s dealings with the U.S. government prior to his 2010 arrest.
Valdez’s boss, drug baron Arturo (Botas Blancos) Beltran-Leyva and three of his bodyguards, were killed on December 16, 2009 in a 90-minute gun battle with hundreds of Mexican police, a DEA swat team and members of the U.S. military outside a luxury apartment complex in Cuernavaca, Mexico Beltran-Leyva was using as hideaway. Valdez gave up the location of the safe house to a DEA agent per the court records. In the aftermath of Beltran-Leyva’s death, Valdez went to war for his organization against his three brothers, resulting in mass carnage before he was finally taken off the street less than a year later.
Most of Valdez’s cooperation had to do with corruption within the Mexican government under former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He’s expected to be a star witness at the upcoming drug trial of Genero Garcia Luna, Mexico’s top security officer in Calderon’s administration, who was arrested by the DEA last year. The article in Aristegui Noticias details tips Valdez gave the DEA and FBI between 2008 and 2010.
The 46-year old Valdez was sentenced to 50 years in prison out of federal court in Atlanta in 2018 for narcotics trafficking. He started his career in the Mexican drug world landscape, as a bodyguard for notorious Narcos boss, Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel. Nicknamed after the American blonde-doll toy franchise, La Barbie was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, where he was a high school football star and then a local marijuana kingpin.
Valdez fled the law in the U.S. in the late 1990s and hooked up with Guzman, first as an enforcer and personal driver and then as head of the Sinaloa’s Gulf region. The DEA estimates he oversaw the transportation and distribution of 2,000 kilos of cocaine a month into the U.S. through Texas.
When the four Beltran-Leyva brothers (Arturo, Carlos, Hector and Alfredo) decided to break off from Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel and start their own narcotics conglomerate, Valdez joined them and given his own crew to run known as “Los Negros.” While living in Mexico, he met and married the daughter of fellow drug lord Carlos (El Charro) Montemayor.
After Arturo Beltran-Leyva was killed, Valdez squared off against his brother, Hector (El Ingeniero) Beltran-Leyva, for control of the organization in a bloody power struggle that resulted in hundreds of slayings. Valdez became famous for videotaping murders, decapitations and torture sessions and circulating them on-line as an intimidation tactic.
There are currently two Hollywood films in development about Valdez’s life. In 2011, Legendary Pictures optioned a Rolling Stone Magazine article about Valdez and have attached Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy fame to the project as El Barbie. Actor Arnie Hammer purchased Valdez’s life rights in 2016 and intends on starring in and producing a biopic as well.