Cocaine Kingpin Sentenced to 49 Years for Drug Trafficking

Edgar Valdez-Villarreal, a former high school football player who “rose through a bloody power struggle for control of a Mexican drug cartel,” was sentenced Monday to almost 50 years in prison and forced to return $192 million, reports the The Guardian. Valdez-Villarreal, who belonged to the Beltran-Leyva Cartel and was better known as “La Barbie,” was accused of “bringing trucks full of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern United States and shipping millions of dollars in cash back to Mexico,” the Guardian notes, and pled guilty in January of 2016 to conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money. “Valdez-Villareal 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,” US Attorney Byung Pak said in a statement cited by CNN. “The highest levels of Mexican drug cartel should know that, like La Barbie, they will be held accountable for their crimes.”