Mexico paraded one of its most violent drug lords yesterday after a police raid that President Felipe Calderon’s government hopes will mark a breakthrough in its campaign against powerful cartels.
But the capture of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez, a Texas-born 37-year-old, may do little to halt the flow of drugs into the United States or staunch bloodshed in Mexico’s most violent areas, most of them along the U.S. border.
Wearing a green polo shirt, jeans and sneakers, Valdez, nicknamed “La Barbie” for his fair complexion, grinned openly as authorities discussed his capture near Mexico City on Monday afternoon.
“He has been detained, and this operation closes a chapter in drug trafficking in Mexico,” senior federal police official Facundo Rosas told local broadcaster Televisa.
Officials say Valdez was a leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel based in central Mexico, trafficked a tonne of cocaine each month and was responsible for “several dozen” murders.
He was known for the merciless beheadings of rivals, torturing and mutilating victims, and for ordering the slaughter of the family of a marine who took part in the killing of his former boss Arturo Beltran Leyva in December.