Mexican authorities on Monday captured a legendary Texan who is accused of a bloody climb to the top echelon of one of the hemisphere’s most powerful drug cartels, reports the Houston Chronicle. Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie” for his looks, faces a slew of charges in Mexico, but also is wanted in the United States, where he has been indicted for smuggling thousands of pounds of cocaine into this country. The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $2 million for his capture. Most recently, Valdez was indicted in Atlanta on federal charges he imported and distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine from 2004 to 2006.
U.S. prosecutors contend the drugs were often smuggled north through Texas and then on to Atlanta, which is a hub for cartel activity in the Southeastern United States. Valdez is said to have been a standout high-school football player in the Texas-Mexico border city of Laredo, where a coach nicknamed him Barbie for his hair and eye color. A Mexican official said Valdez was captured by federal police outside Mexico City and he was being held in the capital city.