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A notorious drug trafficker serving a 49-year sentence in the United States has reportedly disappeared from the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ online register of inmates.
On Wednesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked the U.S. to reveal where Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as “La Barbie” due to his light complexion, was being kept since he’s seemingly disappeared from the U.S. prison register, CBS News reported.
“The United States government has to clear it up as soon as possible,” Lopez Obrador told reporters this week.
“We’re going to continue asking them,” he added, saying that it was “odd” Valdez was no longer on the register since he still has decades to serve on the 49-year-sentence he received after pleading guilty in 2016 to conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to launder money. Along with the prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay $192,000 in fines.
“If he is not in prison, you have to see the agreement they made with him because his sentence was for several years. Here in Mexico, there are also complaints filed against him,” Lopez Obrador said. “Do not get ahead of ourselves. We are going to wait to see what is happening.”
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website shows that Valdez is “not in BOP custody,” but a spokesperson from the federal agency told CNN there could be several reasons for that.
“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,” BOP spokesperson Benjamin O’Cone told the outlet.
He reportedly added that the BOP does not provide specific information on inmate status for incarcerated people who are not in BOP custody for “safety, security, or privacy reasons.”
Wilmer “Buddy” Parker, who represented Valdez during his trial, told CNN he hadn’t heard about a possible release but wouldn’t comment further.
Valdez was born in Texas but rose through the ranks of Mexico’s ruthless Beltran-Leyva cartel, beginning as a marijuana trafficker before he developed a massive network capable of shipping between 150 and 180 kilograms of cocaine regularly into the U.S.
Through his drug trafficking business, Valdez connected to Joaquin Guzman-Loera, the infamous El Chapo, and became the drug kingpin’s top lieutenant, according to prosecutors.
He also worked as a hitman during a mid-2000s turf war between the Zetas and Sinaloa cartels.