Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez-Villarreal is back in federal custody after he did not appear in the records of the Federal Bureau of Prisons following a November 2022 oversight. La Barbie’s 2015 sentencing for conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine as well as launder money meant he would be in prison until 2056.

A trial mixup has the BOP scrambling to locate Valdez-Villarreal

However, because he agreed to testify in the trial against former Mexican Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna, La Barbie was not in the BOP’s records. Although it’s been three months, the US government only recently confirmed he is still behind bars.

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The oversight came about as a result of Luna’s trial, where the drug lord was going to testify. He didn’t take the stand, however, because star witness Jesus “El Rey” Zambada’s testimony ended the argument phase of the trial. Now that the jury is deliberating Luna’s case, La Barbie is now back in the BOP’s records.

The question lingering in many people’s minds, however, isn’t about La Barbie’s whereabouts. Rather, people are curious to know more about where he got his particularly unique moniker.

But how did he get the name La Barbie?

Cartel leaders often have larger-than-life nicknames.

In English, the nicknames translate into things like “The Dog Killer,” “The Lord of the Skies,” and even “The Bunny Commander.” But Valdez-Villarreal’s nickname is literally just Barbie. No need to think hard about this one. They literally mean Barbie like the toy doll. So how did he end up with that one?

The Mexican drug lord was actually born in Laredo, Texas. According to his family, the kid who would become La Barbie actually had a pretty normal life. The now-49-year-old drug trafficker and hit man first started trafficking marijuana in the 1990s before progressing to cocaine.

Eventually, he fled to Mexico in 1998 and never returned to the United States prior to his arrest. Before that, however, Valdez-Villarreal was a normal kid who played football in high school. At some point, the team dubbed him “La Barbie” because of his blue eyes and fair skin. They say he resembled a Ken doll.

In fact, his looks are part of the reason why the cartel embraced him in the first place. Because of his status as a US citizen, his lighter skin, and his ability to fluently speak Spanish and English, he was a hot commodity. He maintained a clean public image while allegedly organizing hits against hundreds of people behind the scenes.

La Barbie’s story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “if looks could kill.” In this case, they did.