“Socalj” for Borderland Beat

On November 28, 2022, Borderland Beat discovered that Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez-Villarreal was listed as “Not in BOP Custody” via the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator search. Due to the timing, it was largely believed that “La Barbie” would be a key witness against Genaro Garcia Luna in New York. 

“La Barbie’s” BOP status as shown on February 16, 2023.

This was not the case, as today the prosecution and defense teams gave their closing arguments and the decision of Luna’s guilt or innocence goes to the jury. La Barbie did not testify, though his name was brought up during the testimonies of other witnesses. 

Most notably, former federal police officer Francisco Cañedo Zavaleta, assured during his testimony that he saw a meeting between Genaro García Luna with Arturo Beltrán Leyva, El Barbas, and La Barbie. Luna has denied ever meeting with any cartel figure. Prosecutors were planning on calling nearly 70 witnesses but ended their case with only 27. It is not known if one of those witnesses that did not testify was “La Barbie.”

Either way, on the day the trial was sent to the jury, “La Barbie’s” status was updated to show that he is back in the custody of the federal prison USP Coleman 2 in Florida where he had been serving his 50-year prison sentence prior to being removed from BOP’s custody late last year. 

“La Barbie’s” BOP status as shown on November 28, 2022.

Two days prior, on February 14th as the final witness against Luna, “El Rey” Zambada began his testimony; we checked on “La Barbie’s” status. He was still shown as “Not in BOP Custody.”

We may never know the exact reason why he did not testify against Garcia Luna. The most likely reason would be his not getting a sentence reduction and/or witness protection that worked for him in exchange for his testimony. It could also be that the prosecution decided that they did not need to call him as his testimony would be similar to others that had testified in previous trials and therefore could be seen as more credible to the jury.

It could also have been that “La Barbie” changed his mind. He allegedly cooperated with both Mexican and US authorities before his arrest in 2010.

Previously, it had been believed that Villarreal would testify against Mochomo, Alfredo Beltran Leyva in his trial that took place in 2016, but it was not the case then either as Alfredo pleaded guilty, but later tried to appeal his life sentence. This was a year after “La Barbie” was extradited to the US but several years before he received his 49-year sentence after he pleaded guilty in early 2016.

Sources BOP, Borderland Beat