A notorious drug cartel leader and hitman suspected of torturing and decapitating dozens of victims has vanished from the federal prison database, despite not being up for release until 2056.
Edgar Valdez-Villareal, a 49-year-old who goes by the criminal moniker “La Barbie,” is listed as “not in BOP custody” on the Bureau of Prisons website. The BOP says it released Valdez-Villareal on November 27, although the bureau frequently lists inmates as “released” when they have been transferred to the custody of another group.
Nevertheless, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sought answers about the missing criminal last week. Reporters asked him about the cartel leader’s whereabouts during a press conference.
“It’s very strange what is going on in the United States with Mr. Villareal, who is no longer registered among those in custody, and we want to know where he is,” Obrador told reporters. “There is no reason for him to leave prison, because he was condemned to many years, unless there was some kind of an agreement.”
Valdez-Villareal was extradited to the U.S. in 2015 and sentenced to 49 years in prison. He was being housed at a facility in Florida.
The BOP did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman told the New York Post they do not comment on prisoner transfers.
“We do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security or privacy reasons,” the spokesman told the outlet.
Born in Texas, Valdez-Villareal got his nickname from a high-school football coach who thought his blue eyes made him look like a Ken doll, according to the Post.
The young man soon got involved in organized crime, reportedly working with various drug cartels until he joined the Sinaloa cartel under El Chapo. By that time, he had already become notorious for torturing and decapitating his victims, often filming the violence.
He was ultimately taken into custody after a firefight with Mexican police in 2010, leading to his extradition to the U.S.