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US-Mexico drug trafficker, La Barbie, sentenced to 50 years

American drug trafficker Édgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as La Barbie, has been handed a 50-year prison sentence by an Atlanta judge.

The capo, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, was accused of bringing trucks filled with cocaine to the eastern United States and sending millions of dollars back to Mexico.

Valdez Villarreal was arrested in Mexico in 2010 and was among the 13 people extradited to the United States in September 2015 to face charges.

Along with his prison sentence, Valdez Villareal will also have to pay a fine of $192 million USD.

Valdez, 44, who was born in Laredo, Texas, was tried in Atlanta, Georgia after being extradited to the US in September 2015. In January of 2016, he was found guilty of the numerous charges against him.

In a statement, US prosecutor Byung J. Pak said, “Valdez Villarreal imported tons of cocaine to the US while working tirelessly in the ranks of one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico, leaving in his wake countless lives destroyed by drugs and violence.”

Valdez Villareal was arrested in 2010, near Mexico City, while fighting for the leadership of the then powerful Beltrán Leyva cartel after his boss, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, fell. After several years of being imprisoned, he was extradited to the United States in 2015 along with 12 other drug traffickers.

In October of that year, he appeared for the first time before a US court, where he declared himself not guilty.

For several years, La Barbie was on the most wanted list by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The anti-drug agency DEA pointed out that he was feared for his brutality, after unleashing a bloody struggle for control of cartel territories.

In Mexico, Valdez is accused of committing dozens of murders while working for the Beltrán Leyva and before, for Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, currently detained in a maximum security prison in New York.

Because of the seriousness of his crimes, it was speculated that La Barbie would receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole.