An American-born associate of infamous drug cartel leader El Chapo - Edgar Valdez Villarreal - has been sentenced to almost five decades in prison after he pleaded guilty on Monday to cocaine and money laundering charges, according to federal prosecutors.
"La Barbie," as Valdez was nicknamed due to his looks, was also ordered in an Atlanta court to turn over $192 million. According to prosecutors, Valdez was responsible for moving thousands of pounds of cocaine from Mexico, Columbia, and other countries into the United States during a long career.
"Over a span of two decades, Mr. Valdez, 44, rose into the leadership ranks of the Mexico-based Sinaloa and Beltrán Leyva drug cartels and in so doing became allied with the infamous drug lord Joaquin Guzmán Loera — known as “El Chapo” —," reported the New York Times via the Justice Department.
“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,” said United States Attorney Byung J. Pak. “He will now go to federal prison for nearly the rest of his life.”
Valdez was sentenced to 49 years and one month behind bars, followed by 10 years of supervised release.