Officials demand whereabouts of ruthless El Chapo wingman when he mysteriously vanishes from US prison system

A notorious Mexican-American drug lord who was in federal custody has reportedly disappeared without a trace, and nobody seems to have any clue as to what happened.

Drug trafficker Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie,” was born in the United States but rose up to acquire a prominent role in Mexico’s Beltran-Leyva Cartel, which is reportedly linked to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.

In this role, he reportedly moved vast quantities of cocaine while torturing and killing his enemies, and leading battles against other cartels.

Flashback to late 2010, when Mexican authorities apprehended Valdez near Mexico City. Five years later, he was extradited to the U.S., and another three years later he was sentenced to 49 years and one day in U.S. federal prison.

Now fast-forward to the present. Earlier this month reports broke in the media that Villarreal’s name was no longer showing up in the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ online register of inmates. This prompted concern from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“What is happening in the United States with Mr. Villarreal is strange. Someone has made it known that he is no longer in the registry of prisoners and we want to know where he is. The United States government has to clear it up as soon as possible,” Obrador told reporters a week ago.

“There is no reason for him to leave prison because his sentence is for many years, unless there has been an agreement,” he added.

When asked for an explanation by CNN, the Federal Bureau of Prisons offered a non-answer answer that failed to clarify anything.

“Inmates who were previously in BOP custody and who have not completed their sentence may be outside BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons,” the spokesperson said.

“We do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security, or privacy reasons,” they added.

What was that supposed to mean?

According to some reports, there’s speculation that Villarreal cut a deal to testify as a protected witness.

“The hypothesis that La Barbie has struck a deal with the US authorities is gaining traction in light of the upcoming trial in New York of Genaro García Luna, who served as Secretary of Public Security during the administration of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). García Luna is due to appear in court in January over accusations of his alleged links with the cartels,” according to El País, a Spanish newspaper.

“Valdez Villarreal was arrested in 2010 in Lerma, a suburb of Mexico City, in an operation orchestrated by García Luna and over the past 12 years he has made several accusations about collusion between organized crime and Calderón’s government. ‘I know for a fact that he has received money from me, from drug trafficking and organized crime,’ La Barbie wrote in a letter from his Mexico prison cell to journalist Anabel Hernández in 2012,” El País notes.

Former DEA chief of international operations Mike Vigil also expects a hidden deal may explain his disappearance.

“I think he is collaborating with the authorities here in the United States because they are not going to take 45 years off his sentence, that is impossible… I believe that the Bureau of Prisons and the Federal Marshals have him as a protected witness,” he said during an appearance on MILENIO Televisión, according to Borderland Beat.

This may possibly explain his disappearance, though you’d assume his lawyer would know about any deal, right? Yet …

“The lawyer who represented Valdez Villareal during his trial in Atlanta, Wilmer ‘Buddy’ Parker, [said] he did not know about a possible release and said he had no further comment,” according to CNN.

Plus, if there were a deal, would that mean he’s free and running the streets? Members of the public don’t think that’d make much sense.

“This should not have happened. No terrorist who decapitated dozens of people on video should be walking free on our streets,” one critic tweeted.

See more responses to his disappearance below;

Vivek Saxena


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