Two cartel leaders and a man suspected for the murder of a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer are among the 13 alleged drug traffickers that were extradited yesterday (Sept. 30) from Mexico to the United States. The narcos had been held in Mexico’s maximum security prison, Altiplano, in Mexico City—the same one Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman” escaped from in July.
Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota is charged with the 2011 killing of an ICE officer in Mexico. Edgar Valdez Villareal, an American who led the Beltran-Leyva cartel, faces drug trafficking charges in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. Jorge Costilla Sánchez, the former leader of the Gulf Cartel, faces charges related to marijuana importation and distribution, money laundering, and threatening federal officers.
Valdez, known as “La Barbie” for his blonde hair and fair skin, hails from the Texas city of Laredo, where he was raised by working-class parents and played for his high school football team, according to a 2010 profile by the New York Times. Reportedly, Valdez turned down his father’s offer to go to college and instead started working for petty smugglers transporting marijuana from Mexico, through Laredo, to Massachusetts and Missouri.
Valdez moved to Mexico in 1998 to avoid arrest, and allegedly quickly fell in with the cartels in Mexico, eventually filling a power vacuum in the Beltran-Levya cartel after its leader, Arturo Beltran Levya, was shot to death in 2009. Shortly after, Valdez was arrested by Mexican authorities. He is credited with starting a fashion trend known as “Narco Polo,” for the preppy collared shirt he was wearing at the time.